This Memoriam was written by University of Delaware Staff and reprinted by permission of Ethan’s family. Ethan was a 2018 Hopewell Valley Central High School graduate.
Ethan Alyea Anderson, a University of Delaware student from Hopewell, New Jersey, passed away January 2, 2021, from injuries sustained in a weather-related car accident. Mr. Anderson was 20.
“On behalf of the entire University community, I extend our deepest condolences to the Anderson family, to Ethan’s professors and to his many friends,” Adam D. Cantley, dean of students at UD, said. “The tragic loss of this promising young man saddens us all.”
Mr. Anderson was a third-year finance major in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, where he was active in the Private Markets Club. He also was a member of the University swim team, specializing in distance freestyle and butterfly, reaching the final of the Colonial Athletic Association Championships in the 500 freestyle.
For Max Dolinksy, assistant professor of finance, Mr. Anderson played an important role in last fall’s shift to remote learning. “Ethan quickly dispelled my concern last semester of being unable to connect with students in the new virtual setting,” Dolinksy said. “Through his enthusiasm and interpersonal skills, Ethan boosted class energy by contributing to discussions and engaging his peers. My auxiliary interaction with Ethan through the Private Markets Club, helped me realize that while Ethan was assisting me with my educator’s goals, he was also pursuing his own life’s mission–lifting individuals around him.”
Calling Mr. Anderson “selfless and intentional,” Dolinsky said, “He was continually looking for ways and, more importantly, taking actions to improve the world around him.”
In the Private Marketers Club, Dolinsky said he was “a key driver in shaping the club’s momentum and collegiate culture.” Mr. Anderson worked to expand his peers’ professional network and supported the club’s engagement of industry experts, including introducing the club to his father, T.J. Anderson, who has more than 30 years of industry experience.
“I believe Ethan’s self-actualization was rooted in empathy for others; encouraging and enabling us to do our best,” Dolinksy said. “Ethan’s charismatic and giving identity is contagious; his spirit will continue to live within Lerner College and spread among the Blue Hens on campus.”
Pablo Marmolejo, head coach of Swimming and Diving at UD, said words can’t express what Mr. Anderson meant to the program and his teammates. “Ethan always gave us everything he had,” Marmolejo said. “He made us a better team and a better family.”
Mr. Anderson’s “contagious charisma and sense of humor spread through the pool deck,” Marmolejo said, noting that he was also an “incredibly hard worker” who always welcomed new challenges. “He will be greatly missed. He left us with a lot of great memories and changed this program for the better. He will forever be in our hearts, and we will continue to fight for him.”
Born in New York City in 2000, Mr. Anderson grew up in New Jersey, where he attended Hopewell Elementary School, the Chapin School and Hopewell Valley Central High School, graduating in 2018.
He began swimming competitively at the age of 5 and competed year-round with the Eastern Express Swim Team for almost 10 years, progressing to Division 1 NCAA competition.
Mr. Anderson spent summers at the Hopewell Valley Golf Club, where he worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor. His family noted that he enjoyed sharing his love of the sport with younger children, serving as a mentor and showing kids how to be disciplined to excel athletically, while still having fun.
A long-time skateboard enthusiast, he had revived that interest recently. After a 12-hour flight to Shanghai, his first stop was an extreme skatepark. Always aiming for the next challenging trick, he filled his home driveway and garage with skateboard ramps that he built with his father, funded with gifts, allowances and early entrepreneurial ventures.
One of Mr. Anderson’s newest interests was creating song mixes and serving as a DJ for social events, using his DJ name Etan.
He is survived by his parents, Sara Alyea and T.J. Anderson; sisters Lindsey and Caroline, who is a freshman at UD; grandmother, Retha Alyea; aunts Meghan and Margaret Anderson; and many friends.
A virtual service was held January 16, where Mr. Anderson’s immediate family and eight of his closest friends spoke and shared memories.
At that service, Mr. Anderson’s parents shared their pride in “the man Ethan became, the love he showed and shared with the world and the memory and legacy he established.” They recounted his ability to set and achieve goals “whether in the pool, academically or in the many deep relationships he created” and joy in celebrating the accomplishments of his teammates, friends and family.
“We are eternally grateful for extra moments that COVID realities allowed us to spend with Ethan, doing puzzles, playing board games, cooking newly discovered favorites, movie binges, surfing skimboarding and riding waves in the ocean or just being present,” they wrote. “Ethan’s enthusiasm for the UD Private Markets Club and the fact that he wanted to talk about it with us and even have his Dad participate, was just starting to build the rest of Ethan’s story. These things make us smile.”
They encouraged everyone “to live as fully and lovingly as Ethan—seeking adventure, purpose and fun with determination and a kind and open heart.”
Gifts in Mr. Anderson’s honor may be made to the Hopewell Valley Education Foundation.
MercerMe extends its deepest condolences to Ethan’s family.