Texas Tech student dies during UT study abroad program

Megan Menchaca

Elmer Arrieta, a 27-year-old graduate student studying architecture at Texas Tech University, died while participating in a UT study abroad program in Irkutsk, Russia, according to an email sent to the UT community on Saturday.

Arrieta was injured during a hiking excursion on Olkhon Island, Reagins-Lilly said in the email.

“I am heartbroken to report the tragic death of Elmer Arrieta, a Texas Tech University student participating in a UT Austin study abroad program in Irkutsk, Russia,” said Soncia Reagins-Lilly, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, in the email.

According to the email, Arrieta was one of 20 students on the excursion on June 16.  

“It’s with heavy hearts that we remember Elmer Arrieta, who tragically passed away in Russia yesterday,” Texas Tech officials said in a tweet. “Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”

Arrieta’s fraternity at Tech, Phi Kappa Pi, also expressed their grief in a Twitter post.

“It is with great sorrow to announce that we have lost our brother Elmer Arrieta,” Phi Kappa Pi at Texas Tech said in the tweet. “He truly demonstrated how to be a Man of Class. Rest In Peace Brother.”

UT counselors are heading to Irkutsk to support the students who are still there, according to the email. UT Student Emergency Services will continue to offer support to UT students or staff on campus.