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Message from Chancellor Zeppos on student death in Israel

Mar. 8, 2016, 3:45 PM


Share this on Facebook Vanderbilt mourns student Taylor Force

Editors Note, March 10: The message below was sent shortly after the university received the tragic news of Taylor Force’s death and was based on the limited, confirmed information the university had at the time. The priority at the time was notifying our community of the tragedy and informing them that all other Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff on the trip were safe. The attack was subsequently classified as an act of terrorism. Chancellor Zeppos and the university condemn all such heinous acts.

Dear Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff,

It is with extreme sadness that I write to inform you that Taylor Force, a student at our Owen Graduate School of Management, was fatally wounded March 8 in a stabbing attack while on an Owen School trip to Tel Aviv, Israel. All other Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff on the trip are safe.

Taylor embarked on this trip to expand his understanding of global entrepreneurship and also to share his insights and knowledge with start-ups in Israel. He exemplified the spirit of discovery, learning and service that is the hallmark of our wonderful Owen community. This horrific act of violence has robbed our Vanderbilt family of a young hopeful life and all of the bright promise that he held for bettering our greater world.

Taylor’s family and his friends and colleagues have our deepest sympathy and utmost support.

In light of this loss, we as a community can look to find strength by continuing our commitment to build and nurture an educational environment whose foundational mission is to expand world peace and enlightenment.

We also have university resources available for faculty, students, and staff. For students, please reach out to the Psychological Counseling Center 615-322-2571; for faculty and staff to the Employee Assistance Program 615-936-1327.  The Office of Religious Life and University Chaplain can be reached at 615-322-2457.


Nicholas S. Zeppos

Read more: Vanderbilt University graduate student dies in attacks in Israel »

  • Ilana Fine Bar-Hai

    I am terribly sorry for this tragic and horrible loss.

  • Kiara Stone

    Huge tragedy. We will beat terrorism be it in Israel or the US.

  • Abu Nudnik

    Very sad. My condolences to his family and friends. Is there a place to send something?

  • Elina Vinokurova

    On behalf of Israel supporters, please accept our deepest condolences. We feel your pain as our own and it’s a tragic loss for us all.

  • Emanuel Miller

    What an awful day. Such a fine young man, with a passion to make life better for other people. Although I live in Israel myself and am sadly all-too-familiar with terrorism, this time it’s particularly difficult to bear. RIP, Taylor. May your family find comfort in the fact that you left such a good impression on this world. Sending much love to all those who knew you.

  • Don’t even know the person but this is really upsetting and angering.

  • red

    I wish the Vanderbilt community my deepest sympathies. To Taylor’s friends and family healing and strength. May his memory be blessed for good. May his spirit and force be carried on by those who were fortunate enough to know him. RIP!

  • Westonite

    May his memory always be for a blessing… :'(

  • Rafael Kouyghadosh

    I am so sorry for this loss. It truly is heartbreaking. I wish his family better days

  • Our deepest condolences to the Vanderbilt community and Taylor’s family.
    Israel and its people will keep stand shoulder to shoulder with the American People, in our fight against terror.

    Those who wish to take our freedom and ruin our democracies will lose. Please do not let terror win, keep on visiting the Start-up Nation, to witness with your own eyes, the magic that is called Israel.

  • Ralar

    May his memory be a blessing.

  • Rachel Glaser

    This is so tragic. Taylor seems like such a special person. Thank you for all you did for America and for supporting Israel, may your memory be a blessing and may G-d give comfort to your family and friends! I understand that his wife is in critical condition in Israel and if there is any way we can assist her or his family on the ground (I live in Israel), please provide a contact.

  • Carol Lipszyc

    I am deeply saddened by this tragic news. What a waste of a young life brimming with potential by this murderous act of rage.

  • Jay Aizen

    He will be held to Israel’s heart as one our own.Y’hi Zichron Baruch !

  • jodi

    May his name always be for a blessing

  • SJS

    Shock, & sadness is what so many in Israel feel about this crime. Condolences are sent to his family and the Vanderbilt community with hope that somehow you will all be comforted. We are all so sorry about the murder of Taylor Force – it was terrible act and hopefully we can defeat this sort of evil soon.

  • Golda

    As an American- Israeli (dual citizen) I want to send my condolences to the family of Taylor Force and to his friends at Vanderbilt University. He came to Israel to learn and to share. I didn’t know him personally, but he clearly was a vibrant young man with so much to give. We will keep his memory alive here. Please let us know about how we can honor his memory.

  • Wiseman28

    Love and prayers to all of you and Taylor’s family and friends.

  • Joe

    Our condolences to the Force family and the Vanderbilt family. Taylor Force served our country with honor and his murder is an act of evil. May Taylor Force’s memory be as a blessing for his family, for his community and for our country.

  • MyOwnSpokesman

    Sad news indeed!

    He was very down to earth, friendly, and a funny guy who caused no harm to anyone, even with words at school (@West Point). Be thou at peace brother! :(

  • Yechezkel Goldfrad

    We in Israel mourn this wonderful young American man who had achieved so much in his short life. Israel and America and the rest of the western world need to remain united against the Islamic Extremist Jihadist menace who took Taylor’s life. We hope that somehow his wife and family will receive comfort.

  • UkrAmerican

    Deepest condolences to the family and friends…
    Young and wonderful life lost.

  • Stacey

    My deepest sympathies to Taylor’s family. What a horrible tragedy.
    May his name always be a blessing.

  • Sharon Tzur

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Taylor’s friends and family. I read that Taylor served in the United States armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan His family must have endured many days of worry and stress during his service, from which he returned safely, only to be cut down by terror.

    Though I never had the honor of meeting Taylor, I have read that he was an outstanding young man. I plan to learn about his life and honor his memory by teaching my students about him.

    We in Israel mourn with you.

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