Scott Robinson, a former member of the class of 2011 remembered for his warm personality and literary talent, died in his sleep Friday at his home in East Amherst, N.Y. He was 21 years old.
Robinson withdrew from Yale in December 2008 after suffering from severe depression, said Timothy Wagner, Robinson’s closest high-school friend. Wagner said Robinson died in his sleep, adding that family members told him the death was accidental. Robinson’s girlfriend, Lexie Hare, said an autopsy will be performed. Members of Robinson’s family could not be reached Sunday, but friends from home and Yale said he was a gentle presence and a gifted writer.
Hare, who dated Robinson since 2006, said the couple met him during a play rehearsal.
“I’m really lucky to have known him,” Hare said. “He was everything to me.”
Wagner, who attended Canisius High School with Robinson in Buffalo, N.Y., described his friend as a kind and intelligent person, a marvelous poet and a keen writer.
Wagner said Robinson was determined to return to Yale, as he always spoke highly of the University and the friends he made here. Wagner said that when he visited New Haven while Robinson was still enrolled, Robinson was “constantly beaming with pride as he showed off the school.”
“He was selfless in all regards — a romantic and a connoisseur of anything that interested him,” Wagner said. “We both felt that it was at Yale where he would truly flourish into greatness.”
Robinson applied to be re-admitted to Yale in the fall of 2009 but did not come back this semester, said his friend and freshman year suitemate, John Scrudato ’11.
Robinson’s freshman year roommate, Will Robles ’11, said Robinson — whose Facebook profile says he was an English and literature major — was a bright student and avid about literature. Robles, who is also an English major, said he and Robinson had many “deep conversations” about books.
“He’s read ‘Hamlet’ more times than I can count,” Robles said. “He has an eye for Shakespeare like very few people I’ve met in my life.”
After leaving Yale, Robinson worked at a nursing home, Robles said. He also took literature and theater classes at a local school and tried to produce a play he wrote while at Yale, added Zach Rotholz ’11, a former suitemate.
Robinson visited New Haven in November to interview for readmission, and he and his friends got together for dinner and walked around campus, Scrudato said.
“We were joking like good old times and having fun.” Robles said. “You could see the spark in his eyes — that he really enjoyed being back on campus.”
Robles said Robinson appeared physically healthy during the visit.
While at Yale, Robinson participated in Crotonia, an undergraduate literary society, and wrote for “Point,” an undergraduate literary magazine founded in 2008.
Rosanna Oh ’10, who knew Robinson through Crotonia and poetry workshops at Yale, said he was a talented writer and poetry critic.
“He wrote vividly about his hometown, Buffalo, about himself, about things his peers didn’t know anything about,” Oh said. “He wrote distinctive and well-crafted language which probed at the centers of his subjects.”
Cooper Wilhelm ’11, another member of Crotonia, said Robinson was a gifted poet and a strong presence in the society.
“When you met Scott, in an instant, you could tell there was a great warmth about him,” Wilhelm said. “He was a great guy, and this is really, really tragic.”
Morse College Master Frank Keil, Robinson’s former master, announced his death in an e-mail to the college Saturday night. In a joint e-mail to the News, Keil and Morse Dean Joel Silverman said Robinson was a kind and gentle member of the Morse community.
While Robinson’s family has not yet made plans for services, Keil said he and Silverman are available to talk with students. Crotonia is holding this Friday’s meeting in his honor.