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Information Technology

Christoffer Carstanjen Memorial Award

Christoffer "Chris" Carstanjen died at age 33 in the crash of United Airlines Flight 175 on September 11, 2001. He was born in Stamford, Connecticut and attended Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Paul Smith's College, and the University Without Walls here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

He was a computer research specialist for the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) at UMass from November of 2000. He had been OIT's liaison to the UMass College of Humanities and Fine Arts, providing support and consultation to the College's departments in all aspects of OIT services, and provided other OIT customer support functions, especially at the beginning of each semester.

He was a great guy, an avid dancer (morris and contra) and loved motorcycling. To friends he was known as "Captain Tupperware" in reference to his red Honda Pacific Coast 800 which proudly bore a "Body by Tupperware" decal. Chris was on his way for vacation to California for the annual Great Pacific Coast Motorcycle Ride when he was lost on Flight 175.

Christoffer was extremely outgoing and friendly, and very popular within OIT, as well as with our clients. He worked well with both faculty and students and was a great ambassador for the University. Christoffer's sense of the human dimension of technology is one of the many enduring gifts he has given OIT.

In his memory, we designate one of our UMatter honorees as the recipient of an award that bears his name. The award is given to that person who best embodies Chris's love of helping others, his tireless enthusiasm for the job, his skill at sharing technology with those often afraid of it, and the general sense that anyone who came in contact with him left the better for having done so.