On Christmas Day 2019, Liam Tran, 25, informed his friends that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Four days later, he passed with his family at his side.
He was a four-year board member of AASC; cofounder of SHADES, Wes’ SOC theater collective; senior interviewer; and a friend and chosen family to more than can be named.
At Wes, he was the first friend to so many. As a tour guide, admissions intern, and senior interviewer, often he was the first person a baby cardinal ever met. If you attended WesFest during his tenure as a student between 2014-2017, then you met him or benefited from his organizational handiwork.
You heard him before you saw him. Sometimes, you just heard him because he was belting Rihanna in the shower while everyone had left for Thanksgiving break. From Olin to Exley to Foss, as part of the Spirits, you could catch his tenor voice reverberating, hurtling at you like the most loving vocal body slam.
It’s a social faux pas to self-declare your test scores as a sign of your intelligence, but maybe if a friend does it, it’s not as cringeworthy. He was a Questbridge scholar who aced every single test he took. You wanted to hate him because he was a music major taking organic chemistry for fun and skewing the curve while you were crying your eyes out in the Butts lounge studying until the sun rose.
But you couldn’t hate him even if you wanted to because he would be there at the end of midterms, hosting an AASC self-care night at AAA house, offering you a plate of Vietnamese spring rolls with a heap of peanut and hoisin sauce.
In a world where fighting the good fight for humanity is too often draining and seemingly impossible, he would slide in with a smile and witticism to keep you going. He was a laugh-and-a-half, a day-one-er, a ride-or-die, a build-with-you-from-the-ground-up kind of guy.
Post-Wes, he spent two years at another NESCAC school working as an admissions counselor, doing the college-access work he was so passionate about. He left Maine for his hometown of Houston in pursuit of the big stage. If you missed the opportunity to see him shine on stage, some of his performances can be viewed on the Wesleyan Spirits’ YouTube channel.
He is missed by his mother, brother, sister, best friends, 260 Pine St. housemates, and all those whose lives he touched. If you want to help continue his legacy, consider donating to MECA, a Houston-based nonprofit organization providing underserved students access to the arts.
On behalf of AASC Board 2013-2017, we love you dearly, Liam. You will never be forgotten.
Keyonne Session | firstname.lastname@example.org