Dear Members of the Amherst College Community:

We write with news of the tragic and untimely death this morning of one of our beloved custodians, Pema Tsering, who had been at the College since 2004.

Pema will be missed by everyone who knew him and all of us who benefitted from his work, his collegiality, and his generosity. He was a man of deep faith, whose positive energy and spirit enriched lives of the people around him. His commitment to his family and to his position at the College was an inspiration.

Pema came to the United States from Tibet, and considered the two audiences he received with the Dalai Lama to be among the highlights of his life. At Amherst he provided excellent service, for the last several years at James Hall and Pontypool House, where he was treasured by students, staff, and colleagues. Pema is survived by his wife, Tashi Youdon, who works at Valentine Dining Hall; two children, a son, Tenzin Lekmon; and a daughter, Tenzin Yeshi. Our hearts go out to them.

There will be a community meeting for residents of James Hall tonight at 8 p.m. Residential Life and Counseling Center staff will be on hand. In addition, Chapin Chapel will be open this evening through 11 p.m. and tomorrow beginning at 7 a.m. as a quiet space for contemplation, remembrance and meditation. 

We hope you will find ways to support one another and yourselves during this difficult time, and will make use of the resources that can be so helpful in the face of tragedy and loss, among them: counselors, psychotherapists, medical practitioners and religious advisors. Employees who need counseling support may contact Human Resources at extension 2372. You may also gain access to counseling services directly through the College's Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-828-6025. Students who would like or need counseling services may call the Counseling Center at 2354.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced. A link to Pema's obituary will be posted here when it becomes available. We extend our deepest sympathies to Pema's family, friends, and co-workers.


Biddy Martin,
and Jim Brassord,
Director of Facilities/Associate Treasurer for Campus Services.