From lending an empathetic ear to mentoring elementary schoolchildren in Columbus City Schools, Austin Singletary embodied the values of hard work, service and achievement.
“Austin was an incredible person and his work ethic and passion was just truly inspirational,” said Ashley Stewart, a graduate assistant for the Office of Student Life’s Department of Social Change at Ohio State, where she worked with Singletary. “We are just talking about astonishing character. (Austin was) one in a million, very unique. Amazing.”
Singletary, a third-year in human nutrition from Bellbrook, Ohio, died on Wednesday from injuries sustained during the annual Mirror Lake jump. Friends and co-workers who knew Singletary said they remember him for his dedication to making the world a better place.
“Just in talking to folks in the last couple of days, both folks in our department as well as people all over campus, something that keeps emerging is ‘inspirational,’” Stewart said. “That was both in his work ethic and the things that he dedicated himself to, and also in his personal drive toward social change and his own personal goals … He has inspired many others in his own personal past and journey.”
Some of the people Singletary inspired were the students of Eastgate Elementary School, where he volunteered as a site leader for the Department of Social Change’s Grow, Explore, Mentor program, which strives to instill values of academic achievement and physical and mental well-being in students ranging from third to fifth grade, according to the department’s website.
“One of the things we saw and acknowledged immediately was his fervent passion and his wholehearted commitment to improving the lives of others very selflessly,” Stewart said. “The work that he did had such greater purpose, and in addition to just being a great person himself, he shared that gift and those talents with the people he interacted with on a daily basis.”
Others remember Singletary for the passion he displayed for the OSU community.
“I used to see him on the weekends along High Street, and he was always just enjoying the campus atmosphere and the environment,” said AJ King, a fourth-year in journalism who was Singletary’s ambassador through the Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male. “Even the fact that he listed his favorite Ohio State memory as ‘winning the national championship’ just goes to show how much he cared about OSU and how much he loved being here. That is probably the thing that stood out most to me. He just loved being at Ohio State.”
Stewart said she also remembers the affinity Singletary displayed for those at OSU.
“He immersed himself in our community and in our department and in our work, and also in the greater community that we serve,” she said. “He was a man who loved his family, and in terms of how we interacted as staff members, he was an incredible and empathetic listener. He was a true friend.”