An MIT Graduate Died After Falling from a Building on Campus

Nicholas Paggi had accessed the roof near the iconic dome, his family says.
MIT by Niall Kennedy on Flickr/Creative Commons

MIT by Niall Kennedy on Flickr/Creative Commons

An MIT graduate fell to his death this week in an apparent tragic accident, his family says.

Speaking with CBS, the parents of 24-year-old Nicholas Paggi say he slipped after scaling a roof near the college’s iconic dome on Tuesday night.

The Tech, MIT’s student newspaper, reports that Paggi was a software engineer and a “brilliant programmer,” who, after graduation, worked as a consultant at the school. A college spokeswoman says Paggi’s death “appears to have been an accident,” The Tech reports. College president Rafael Reif sent an email to students saying “our hearts go out to Nicholas’s family and friends as they cope with this unexpected loss.”

The accident does not appear to be related to the tradition of pushing a piano off the roof of an MIT dorm, which students took part in yesterday.

It was not clear why Paggi climbed the building, but there is a well-established culture of pulling pranks and “hacks” that involve scaling structures at the college. For example, students have gone to great lengths to place objects on the top of the dome, including a fire truck, a police car, and a drawing of Pac Man.

Paggi’s family has announced a fundraiser for a scholarship in his name, which will support a graduate of his high school in New Jersey who plans to study physics or computer science. You can donate here.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com