Student Honored Posthumously for Integrity, High-Spiritedness

Sean Fenton, one of four Yale students who were killed in a tragic car crash in the winter of 2003, was honored posthumously at Senior Class Day exercises with the F. Wilder Bellamy Jr. Memorial Prize.

Dr. Richard Schottenfeld, master of Davenport College (one of Yale’s 12 residential colleges) and professor of psychiatry, presented the award at the May 23 ceremony. The F. Wilder Bellamy Jr. Memorial Prize is given to a junior or juniors who “best exemplify the qualities for which F. Wilder Bellamy Jr. ‘37 is remembered, including personal integrity, loyalty to friends, and high-spiritedness in athletics, academics and social life.”

Fenton, of Davenport College, was selected posthumously for the prize last academic year. The award is being presented at Class Day in his memory. He would have graduated this May.

Fenton was from Newport Beach, California. He was majoring in computer science at Yale and was a member of the Yale football team. He was known among his friends and classmates for being highly skilled with computers, for his willingness to lend a helping hand to others and for his athletic prowess, as well as for his dedication to his friends and his love of fun and new adventures.

A copy of the award citation is below.

F. WILDER BELLAMY JR. MEMORIAL PRIZE

The F. Wilder Bellamy Jr. Memorial Prize is presented to a junior or juniors who best exemplify the qualities for which F. Wilder Bellamy ‘37 B.A. is remembered, including personal integrity, loyalty to friends and high-spiritedness in athletics, academics and social life.

Sean Fenton’s life cannot be recalled without a strong sense of the joy be brought to all he did. This energy and enthusiasm was Sean’s signature, and it remains his enduring legacy. When people saw Sean for the first time, they were struck by one thing, his size. A recruited football player from California, Sean was an imposing presence. But his smile, warmth and incredible ability to make friends and put people at ease are the more lasting impressions we have of him. Rarely have we seen anyone so adept at bridging social groups and making people feel comfortable. Whether on the sports fields, as a participant or on the sidelines cheering on the team, or in the residential college, Sean was a leader. He helped others do things they never thought possible. Sean’s interest in computers and computer science was another way for him to help and connect with others. Whether through IMs (instant messaging) with his family and friends, or his work as a computer assistant (CA) providing technical support and help with computers to students in the college, or through his work designing websites for the Yale Entrepreneurial Society (YES), Sean used computers to build community. In the wake of Sean’s death, the breadth of the impact that his loss has had on his classmates was a reflection of the ability Sean had to engage with others. Sean was the kind of person who is the glue that holds residential colleges together. In his work as a computing assistant, website designer, intramural athlete, and dear friend to his classmates, Sean Fenton has set the standard for the F. Wilder Bellamy award for his generation.

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