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Chico State

Fond Farewell: Construction Management Major Sam Engel

Stars shine above Trinity Hall.
(Jason Halley/University Photographer)

Construction management major Sam Engel, a senior, passed away February 26. He was 22.

Born March 7, 2001, Engel was a loving and vivacious young man who played youth baseball, football, and lacrosse. He arrived at Chico State in fall 2019 and made an immediate impression on his faculty with his passion to learn and participate in class.

Even in a course outside his major, he was always enthusiastic and engaged, said anthropology professor Melody Yeager, who taught Engel in “Nature, Culture, and the Environment” last semester.

“Sam was a really great communicator and one of those bright lights in class,” she said. “He participated a ton, was very kind, and always made eye contact during lectures. When he wasn’t able to come to class, there was a noticeable difference in the classroom.”  

Construction management professor Patrick Brittle also taught Engel in fall 2023 and agreed that Engel’s positive and outgoing personality was evident from the beginning.

“At the end of the first day of class, as everyone was packing up, Sam and I struck up a conversation. Despite having just met, we chatted and exchanged questions as if we’d known each other well,” he said. “As the semester progressed, Sam and I would have more effortless conversations. He was such a positive presence in the classroom, which as an instructor is what you hope for.”

Engel loved to skateboard, surf, and snowboard in Northern and Southern California, and Utah. He had recently taken up golf, and he loved spending time with his friends, often sending them texts and words of encouragement late at night.

He had an internship set up for this summer with Clark Construction in Chicago that he was greatly looking forward to. He is survived by his parents, Marti and David Engel, and sister Hannah. The family is planning a celebration of life to be held at North Coast Church in North County San Diego this spring.