It was a pastime for a New Jersey outdoorsman who found opportunity in the most unlikely of places—even 100 miles inland, along a slow creek that flows quietly just east of campus.
Laura Cunningham recalled that her first introduction with Aidan was a bit unusual. “Aidan stopped by Sturgis to pick up a welcome-back kit from the Abele Scholars on the first day of classes,” said the director of the Abele Scholars Program. “He noticed that Google Maps showed a creek (Donny Brook) that ran near our building and asked if he could go in it to fish.”
“That made me chuckle, and I recommended that he check out the Perkiomen Trail, too. In minutes he was telling tales and sharing memories of fishing back home.”
Later that day, Aidan was texting his mother an Amazon link for a new fishing rod, saying he was planning to check out the Perkiomen Creek as soon as he had the chance.
Aidan never got that opportunity. He passed away suddenly on the morning of Sunday, September 13, from complications related to undiagnosed cardiomegaly. The first-year student may have spent all but three weeks on campus, but he inspired those around him in a uniquely Ursinus manner—with some tongue-in-cheek humor, his athleticism, a penchant for the unordinary, and a spirited and respectful demeanor.
Like the time he walked around his family unit in New Hall in a space suit, his latest online purchase that really didn’t strike his mother, Cheri Revoir, as all that unusual. “I asked, ‘Why a space suit?’ And he just said, ‘Why not? I’m sure it would be comfortable and, besides, it would be fun to wear.’ He just enjoyed life. That was Aidan.” Cheri, whose native language is French, always sent him off with a gentle “Faire les bons choix” to reinforce his responsible, but playful, decision-making—and to spare her son some good-humored taunting when he was leaving with friends.
When Aidan wasn’t traversing campus looking for laughs as a suited-up spaceman, he was philosophical and intelligent, and took to the Common Intellectual Experience quickly. His CIE adviser Talia Argondezzi spoke about how Aidan, in his last essay, was thinking through ideas for how Ursinus could help his peers feel a stronger, more intimate connection to the outdoors—a connection he had always felt through fishing, hiking, hunting and camping.
“He was such a clever student, and his essays were thoughtful and interesting to read,” Argondezzi said. “In addition to digging deep for big ideas, he would often include a light moment, like when he admitted we wouldn’t ordinarily ask an elderly person to teach us how to use our smartphone, so why would we ask Sappho and Confucius to help us solve our modern problems?”
Between lighthearted banter and new friendships, Aidan found comfort at Ursinus, skateboarding around campus and even making the most of several yoga classes during orientation. “I could never imagine doing that myself,” said his father, Michael Inteso, in between laughs. “But Aidan absolutely loved that—being around people, being in the moment, playing hockey and lacrosse, experiencing the outdoors.”
Aidan’s passion for life was palpable. Michael and his wife, April, would end every night pushing Aidan to “Dream great things.” And, perhaps fittingly, they were also the very last words shared with a son who, in a short time, has inspired so many others to carry that mission forward.
The college will remember Aidan in two landmarks across campus. A tree will be planted in his honor, and his love of learning and sports will forever be imprinted through iconography into the story of Ursinus decorating the smokestack. Representatives from the college and its Abele Scholars Program will also honor Aidan’s memory by attending his memorial service this Sunday, September 20, in Toms River, N.J.
A new page on the Ursinus website honors Aidan’s legacy and is now available for those who wish to share their own reflections and memories. “In memory of Aidan Inteso” also includes his obituary. Please visit the tribute at www.ursinus.edu/news/in-memory-of-aidan-inteso/.
The college will also be celebrating Aidan’s life in a virtual service, the details of which are now being coordinated. More information will be shared in the coming days.
And a reminder that the wellness center, the office of religious and spiritual life, and the college’s student affairs staff are available for support and consolation.
Aidan’s love of learning and sports is forever imprinted through iconography into the story of Ursinus decorating of the smokestack.