Campus grieves after death of Robert Foye


Friends described Robert Foye as friendly, bubbly and competitive. Services for Foye will be held Jan. 18, 19 and 20. Photo provided by Heather Montoya.

Last weekend, sophomore Robert Foye was found dead in his off-campus apartment. The cause of death hasn’t been determined, and an autopsy is scheduled to take place in the future. The 19-year-old was studying business administration and political science.

Foye grew up traveling around the world. When he was two months old, Foye’s family moved to Hong Kong. At three, he moved with his family to London. Then Jakarta, Indonesia. Most recently, Shanghai. Robert Foye Sr., Foye’s father, calculates that Foye had close friends in nearly 46 countries.

“I think in 19 years of life, he probably lived the equivalent of two lives,” Foye Sr. said. “If you look at his experiences and the people he met, the things he was able to do, most people take two lives to do. He was a joy and the kind of person where you’d always want another minute of his time.”

Parker Voit, a senior neuroscience major, met Foye at a party in one of Foye’s first weeks as a Trinity student. Voit and Foye kept in touch since that first meeting and often played video games with one another.

“He might’ve been a rowdy type of person, but he was never a mean person. He was so kind,” Voit said. “He just wanted to make everyone around him so happy.”

Foye often spoke of his travels with friends, something that bonded him with Paranj Kalyani, a fifth-year finance major and international student.

“It’s something we talked about a lot, going from place to place, changing the location of your life,” Kalyani said. “You pick up something everywhere you go, from different cultures you meet, and you could see that in Robbie. You could see he was well-traveled.”

Foye Sr. explained that his son was incredibly interested in different cultures, often delving into research about whatever country his family was to visit next.

“He was very curious, so whenever we would travel somewhere, he would study and learn a lot about the history,” Foye Sr. said. “I think he was a global citizen and a global friend. He was totally and utterly comfortable in any culture.”

Foye’s friends also note his positive spirit as one of his defining features.

“He was not afraid to speak his mind. He was really fun to be around, really hyper, really bubbly,” Kalyani said. “I never saw him in a down state and never low-energy.”

Voit agreed.

“Beyond having one of the nicest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met, he’d always be laughing and making jokes,” Voit said.

Voit, Kalyani and Foye’s father all mentioned Foye’s competitiveness and playfulness as a key part of his personality. They said Foye always wanted to play games, no matter the game and regardless of his skill level. Foye’s father described these characteristics in a Facebook post.

After his high school basketball career in Shanghai, he maintained his competitive mentality in grueling pickup games with [me], friends and members of the Trinity community,” Foye Sr. wrote in the post. “He had great defensive skills, could drive to the basket and had a good three-point shot.”

Foye had a deep connection to Trinity. In response, the Foye family has started a scholarship in their son’s name and has asked that anyone who would like to send flowers or condolences donate to the Robert Lawrence Foye Scholarship Foundation instead.

“The foundation is going to be used for scholarships for Trinity students who get financial aid, but maybe not enough, who want an education and want to improve their lives,” Foye Sr. said.

The Foye family planned a campus reception for Thursday, Jan. 18 at 5 p.m. in the Skyline Room. The service offered Trinity community members the opportunity to share condolences and reflect on Foye’s life.

“It’s a chance for people to share stories and their memories of Robert” said David Tuttle, dean of students. “The more official family services will be held in Houston.”

Tuttle explained that the service will be helpful for both Foye’s friends and family, as it connects both sides of his life. The wake will be held at 5 p.m. on Jan. 19, and a memorial service at noon on Jan. 20. For more information regarding these services, refer to the email sent by David Tuttle earlier this week. 

“When a student comes here, part of their identity is that they’re a Trinity student,” Tuttle said. “They get connected with the community, they get connected with their professors and their friends and the staff.”

Foye Sr. explained that for Foye, the Trinity community became synonymous with family.

“Robert liked Trinity a lot. He really liked the learning environment, the community, the small campus that seemed like a family,” Foye Sr. said. “He got a lot of support there; he got extra attention from the dean, from his professors, and we just felt like Trinity was part of the family.”

The university encourages students and faculty working to process Foye’s death to take advantage of counseling services and Stephen Nickle, university chaplain.