On the morning of Jan. 31, Chase McMillan, a student at NYU Shanghai for the academic year of 2014-2015, passed away in New York City. NYU Shanghai Vice Chancellor Jeffrey Lehman commented,”this weekend, we learned of the tragic loss of one of our students, Chase McMillan, who was on leave this past semester. On behalf of our entire NYU Shanghai family, I want to express our heartfelt condolences to Chase’s family and friends. I know that each of us will find a personal moment to remember Chase and to keep those closest to him foremost in our thoughts in the days ahead.”

Chase was born in Plano, Texas and later attended Carroll Senior High School in nearby Southlake. Chase was well-known for eating the American candy Sour Patch Kids so often that his family would send him a box full of packets from the United States.

Chase was enrolled at NYU Shanghai as a member of the Class of 2018 for the academic year of 2014-2015. “He earned a 2280 on his SATs,” a fellow NYU Shanghai student Paddy Jow recalled, emphasizing Chase’s intelligence, “and he said that NYU Shanghai was the first school where only some teachers hated him.” A member of the NYU faculty from that year, Mike Gow, commented on Facebook, “I met him in a meeting to discuss his less than wonderful attendance in GPS and basically he told me he liked to do things his way. I liked him immediately.”

NYU Shanghai sophomore Aaiz Khan, when hearing of Chase’s death, said, “he was the first one to accept us Muslim Pakistanis the way we are, always curious about why we did things the way we did them. For example, his constant inquiry about why we eat ‘halal food’ was frustrating but at the same time, I found in him a person that actually listens, analyzes and understands.” “Every time he spoke to you, he looked you straight in the eyes,” sophomore Kevin Orellana added.

While at NYU Shanghai, Chase taught himself German from the language app Duolingo in only six weeks. Ashler Uebele and Milica Gligic, both sophomores, remember on Tuesday afternoons after class, Chase would perch on the stoop outside of Motel 268, translating words and sentences from English into German or turning their daily stories into beatbox songs. Friends also fondly remember sitting on Chase’s balcony and watching That 70s Show with him. 

Last summer, Chase began telling various friends that he was unable to continue attending NYU Shanghai and had taken a job as a sushi chef. Since then, he had been taking odd jobs and traveling around the United States: California, Michigan, Dallas, Austin, and New York. Those same friends reported that this was going to be Chase’s last week in New York City. He told them that he had made plans to head to his grandfather’s ranch in Arkansas to do manual labor and attend community college.

Thomas Bruce, NYU Shanghai’s Head of Public Affairs said, “Chase McMillan’s untimely loss leaves us all saddened. In these moments of grief, it is important to celebrate the many ways in which Chase added to our lives, and cherish the fond memories. If you think it would be helpful to you or a friend to speak with someone,  please go to the NYU Shanghai Health and Wellness Center on the 6th floor, or contact the University’s Wellness Exchange hotline at 2059-9999.”

Chase is survived by his father and stepmother, his grandfather and grandmother, and his siblings.

At Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home in Colleyville, visitation will be held on Feb. 5 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. On Feb. 6, at 10 a.m. at Gateway Church in North Richland Hills, there will be a celebration of his life. More information can be found here.


This article was written by Allison Chesky. Research and reporting was contributed by Isabella Farr. Please send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Natalie Soloperto

One thought on “Chase McMillan: June 28, 1996 – January 31, 2016

  1. He was one of the sweetest people I’d ever known. Whether it was came to speaking different languages or knowing the best cigarette brands in China, this guy knew everything. Everyday he’d ask questions about why I did some stuff the way I did it, and his hunger to learn more always made him standout from the rest of the student body. He was never ‘that guy’ or ‘his/her friend’, everyone knew him as Chase.

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