Ian McClelland, a Drexel freshman studying game art and design, died May 17 after sustaining injuries in a car accident.
President John A. Fry broke the news to the Drexel community in an email sent May 18 at 9:40 a.m.
McClelland was reportedly speeding on the Vine Street Expressway May 17 when he lost control of his 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor at 2:20 a.m. The vehicle flipped over after colliding with a concrete barrier, and McClelland was ejected from it. Following the accident, he was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital.
Casey Condon, a freshman who is also a game art and design major, was shocked to hear the news. He had multiple classes with McClelland during fall and winter terms, including Intro to Digital Media and Design II.
“It’s so weird when you just had classes with someone and then they are just gone,” Condon said.
McClelland lived in Myers Hall as part of the Westphal College learning community. He quickly formed friendships with some of the other freshman that live in Myers, starting on the very first day of the school year.
Jordan Layman, a freshman entertainment and arts management student, recalled his first encounter with McClelland.
“I met him outside Myers on the first day we moved in. Our friend Nathan waved him down, and he looked really creeped out by all of us, but he came back. I guess we were all drawn together,” Layman said.
Jess DeSell, a freshman graphic design major and another of McClelland’s close friends, said, “He loved to have fun. I could walk into his room at any time and be guaranteed to be smiling by the time I left. He would do such goofy things. In the beginning of the year we spent a lot of our spare time shooting Nerf guns and watching movies.”
McClelland was a member of the Drexel University Chorus and loved “all things different and quirky,” Layman said. He added that McClelland “loved to eat cheerios and watch ‘SpongeBob,’ ‘30 Rock’ and ‘Futurama.’ He was also an avid chocolate milk fan. We both also shared a deep love for Zooey Deschanel.”
Max Solomon, a freshman product design major, also lived in Myers and formed a close friendship with McClelland.
“He loved to do random spontaneous things for fun. I remember I would come into his room with a random idea like trying to build an RC helicopter, getting crazy haircuts or wandering around the city for no reason, and he would always be game,” he said.
McClelland leaves behind his mother, Karen, who is an adjunct professor for Westphal College, as well as his father, Phil, and two brothers, Charlie and Evan.
Fry encouraged students struggling with the loss of McClelland to reach out to Drexel’s Counseling Center for support at 215-895-1415 or after regular hours at 215-416-3337. The Center also offers a peer counseling helpline open Sunday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to midnight at 215-895-1523. The service is composed of trained student volunteers. For more information about crisis counseling, visit drexel.edu/studentlife/support_health_services/.