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Penn State Honors Student Passes Away, Found Unresponsive in Dorm Room

by and on April 06, 2014 7:30 PM

A Penn State junior and Schreyer Honors College scholar was found unresponsive in his room Saturday morning.

Richard Bilger, 21, was declared dead at Mount Nittany Medical Center at 12:32 p.m., according to the Centre County Coroner’s Office.

Penn State Spokeswoman Lisa Powers said police are investigating the cause of death, although foul play is not suspected. If there is a toxicology report, the results will most likely not be available for weeks.

Powers said Residence Life staff knocked on his door in Simmons Hall on Friday night, but no one answered. They again attempted to locate him Saturday morning, but there was no response. University Police were then called to unlock the door, where Bilger was found unresponsive. He lived in a single room.

Police notified Bilger’s family, and Student Affairs is following up for support. Student Affairs also has mobilized the related support from Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) for Richard’s hall mates and friends. Anyone who feels the need to seek out these services should do so immediately, Powers said.

Bilger, a computer science and math major, was an accomplished coder and interned as a developer at Lockheed Martin for both of the past two summers. In addition to being a hard-working student, he was also an avid musician. “In my hardly existent spare time, I enjoy playing my bass guitar,” he wrote on his LinkedIn page. He was also a member of the Association for Computing Machinery.

“This is a tragedy, as are all student deaths,” Powers said. “Our hearts go out to his family and friends as they mourn the loss of this promising young man.”

Schreyer Honors College Dean Christian Brady said he does not have any additional information at this time.

“I do extend the deepest sympathies and condolences of the entire Schreyer family to Richard’s family, friends, and classmates,” Brady said. “It is a tragic loss any time someone leaves us before their time. They will remain in our thoughts and prayers.”

This post was originally published by the staff at Onward State. Follow Onward State on Twitter @OnwardState.

Jessica Tully recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in journalism and political science. She is a frequent contributor to and has also reported for USA TODAY, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Onward State and The Daily Collegian.
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