Harvey Mudd Community Celebrates Life of Engineering Student Tristan Witte ’18

The Harvey Mudd College community has rallied together to support each other in mourning engineering student Tristan Witte ’18, 20, a talented athlete, musician and scholar, who passed away in a car accident July 15 along with his friend JJ Adkisson, 20, a graphic design student at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.

The two young men had been fast friends since meeting in third grade Sunday school at Marin Covenant Church in San Rafael.

“They went to different schools and lived in different cities but connected at a higher level with their passion for music and cool things like Pokemon and now Pokemon Go,” said Marcus Witte, Tristan’s father, in a Marin Independent Journal article.

The two friends were driving to Claremont on Interstate 210 in Southern California to pick up classmates at Harvey Mudd for a weekend camping trip at Joshua Tree National Park when the accident occurred.

Witte was an active member of the Harvey Mudd community and a fan of the beach, surfing and music. Students and faculty members recall Witte as easy going and even-keeled in a way that helped his classmates immensely. An engineering faculty member recalls, “When they were super stressed (which was nearly always), he’d crack a joke or play some reggae that would relax everyone and make them all more effective. He also showed great respect for every person on his team.”

Fellow engineering student and friend Lillian Liang ’18 pointed out that “he always looked people in the eye and really listened when they talked.”

Witte further served the Harvey Mudd community by being a peer consultant at the Writing Center and was pursuing an interest in languages by taking classes in Chinese.

The son of Marcus and Irmgard Witte of San Rafael, California, Witte is survived by his parents, and a younger sister, Peyton.

More information can be found on the Tristan Witte Memorial Web Page. Harvey Mudd community members and other friends are encouraged to share their remembrances on this page. Those with Facebook accounts may also wish to share remembrances of Witte on the Witte Family Facebook site.

Honoring Tristan

Memorial Service, Aug. 13

There will be a celebration of the extraordinary lives of JJ Adkisson and Tristan Witte ’18 at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at Marin Covenant Church, 195 N. Redwood Dr., San Rafael, California. In the spirit of the young men we are honoring, please dress as they would have: colorful surfer wear and flip flops, stylish hipster wear or a funky combination of both. Black clothing is discouraged. There will be a reception to follow in the church courtyard.

Scholarship Fund

Tristan was intensely dedicated to Harvey Mudd College, where he was studying engineering. In honor of Tristan’s devotion to his peers and commitment to excellence, a scholarship fund has been set up at Harvey Mudd. In lieu of flowers and gifts, the Witte family asks that tax-deductible donations to support the Tristan Witte ’18 Memorial Scholarship be made directly to Harvey Mudd College, as follows:

  • Use the giving form. Under “Other Initiatives” specify “Tristan Witte” or
  • By check made out to “Harvey Mudd College.” Specify “Tristan Witte” on the memo line and mail to: Harvey Mudd College, Office of College Advancement, 301 Platt Boulevard, Claremont CA 91711-5990

For other means of payment (e.g., stock transfer and cash wire transfer) or more information, contact either Dan Macaluso at 909.607.7069 (dmacaluso@hmc.edu) or Christine Harrison at 909.621.8335 (charrison@hmc.edu).