OIT staffer lost in plane hijacking
By Barbara Pitoniak, News Office staff
hristoffer M. Carstanjen, 33, a computer research specialist for the Office of Information Technologies (OIT), was killed in Tuesday's terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
Carstanjen was a passenger aboard United Flight 175, hijacked following its departure from Boston, and the second plane that crashed into the trade center.
"The confirmation that Christoffer was aboard the flight that struck the second tower adds the piercing pain of familiarity to the profound sadness that his UMass family members are experiencing," said Interim Chancellor Marcellette G. Williams. "We extend our arms and our hearts to Christoffer's family in the hope of providing some solace to their pain.
"Christoffer's sense of the human dimension of technology is one of the many enduring gifts he has given us. To him and to his family we say, 'Thank You.' His life has made ours the richer."
Carstanjen had worked at the University since November 2000. He was OIT liaison to the College of Humanities and Fine Arts (HFA), providing support and consultation to the College's departments in all aspects of OIT services.
Michael Gilbert, Carstanjen's immediate supervisor in OIT, said that most recently, Carstanjen acted as a "greeter and concierge to the many students, staff, and faculty who came to OIT to sign up for new accounts, get connected, or otherwise seek out support during the hectic beginning of the school year."
Harlan Sturm, associate dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, described Carstanjen as a "very bright young man, energetic and innovative." Sturm said Carstanjen provided technical advice to faculty and staff in the college, had offered instructional workshops, and shepherded requests from the college to OIT.
"Christoffer had a fine sense of humor and was a wonderfully lively person," he said. His work was extremely beneficial to the College, and his death, said Sturm, "is a real loss."
"Christoffer was extremely outgoing and friendly, and very popular within OIT," said Randy Sailer, director of telecommunications for OIT. "He worked well with both faculty and students and was a great ambassador for the University."
Carstanjen was aboard the United flight enroute to a vacation in San Diego. He was a resident of Turners Falls, and had received a bachelor's degree from University Without Walls last year. Carstanjen had previously been employed at Northfield Mount Hermon School since 1996.