September 24, 2018
The University of Massachusetts Amherst community is mourning the loss of Manuel David Matos Diaz, a graduate student and Kinesiology alumnus who died of a sudden illness days after the semester began.
Diaz, 36, earned a bachelor's degree in exercise science in 2005 and a master's degree in physiology in 2008. At the time of death, he was a sociology teacher and Ph.D. candidate.
He also served as the grievance coordinator for the Graduate Employee Organization, the union representing graduate students.
"He was a wonderful person," says Professor Emerita of Kinesiology Patty Freedson, who served as department chair at the time. "A gentle soul and very friendly person; he was a strong, passionate advocate for underserved populations."