Business administration major Arturo Vega passed away in a car accident on August 8 near his hometown of Salinas. He was 22.

Born July 3, 1996, Vega graduated from Everett Alvarez High School in Salinas in 2014 and transferred in fall 2017 from Hartnell Community College to Chico State, where he was pursuing an option in accounting. He was very proud that he was the first in his family to go to college, and he returned home to Salinas often to visit them. He was extremely passionate about soccer, playing regularly at the WREC and hoping to eventually try out be part of the Wildcats team.

“I remember having good conversations with Art. To be truthful, we talked more about life than we did about math. I was able to get to know about his hometown and family,” said Department of Mathematics and Statistics professor Ann Steckel, who taught Vega this spring. “Most of all, he always had a smile and a hello. He was friendly and earnest and smart.”

Business administration major Reid Withrington met Vega in an accounting class last year and they “hit it off right off the bat, talking about sports and other eventful things going on in life.” He remembers that Vega kept his classmates laughing with plenty of jokes.

“Arturo was not only a good person but also an amazing friend. I am so happy I got a chance to meet him and I will always be thankful for the good times we had together in Chico,” Withrington said.

Vega enjoyed spending quality time with his friends, who said he was an outstanding cook who loved inviting people over for barbecues. He always ensured everyone had eaten before taking a break from the grill, said criminal justice major Bryan Rosales. The two met in a multicultural course and became friends when they learned they shared the same hometown.

“Coming from a farming town, living around poverty and seeing violence through a high youth murder rate, you don’t expect a lot of folks serious with their education,” Rosales said. “We became close friends after the first day we met. We had similar stories and we have so many Chico memories that a lot of friends and I hold deeply. … Arturo was a loving, caring, and kind friend.”

A memorial service took place August 11. The University flag will be lowered Monday, September 10, in his honor.