Our hearts are heavy to share the news that senior Kevin Gallegos Lopez, a health science major, passed away January 2. He was 25.

Born November 17, 1995, in Mexico, he grew up in Pleasanton and graduated from Foothill High School in 2014, where he was a standout member of the wrestling team. He subsequently enrolled at Chico State and had a dream of working with children who have special needs.

Public health and health services administration faculty Kristina Carter was Lopez’s academic advisor and also taught him in three classes. During that time, they got to know each other well, and she fondly describes him as a unique, sweet-spirited, and selfless young man who wanted to make a difference in the world.

“Life was sometimes a challenge for him and through all the difficulties he remained full of hope for his future and full of love for others,” she said. “School was not a straight and easy path, but he expressed a great sense of urgency in getting out there and making a difference for his family, to be a role model, and to support youth in his community. Kevin’s happiest days were doing community service, working out, talking to his mom or siblings on the phone, and helping at his brother’s wrestling practice.”

At one point, Carter shared her cell phone number with Lopez for a service project and they continued to communicate once he returned to Pleasanton. One of her favorite texts from him said “much love and have a great day,” which she said epitomizes the gracious, thankful, and hopeful soul he was.

As a DACA student, Lopez was proud to be a Dreamer and living the American Dream. He wanted children in his community, especially those who were undocumented, to have similar opportunities to learn, play sports, and succeed. He often told them he wanted them to study and do well in school, and he advocated that if he could graduate from college, so could they.

An organ donor, Lopez saved five lives, living up his childhood dream of being a superhero, his family said.

He is survived by his mother, Erica Gallegos, and his siblings Maria, Angel, and Dyllan. A GoFundMe has been established for the family to support them with hospital bills, funeral costs, and other expenses.

The University flag will be lowered Monday, February 8, in his memory.