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Young Alum Remembered for Compassion, Friendship

Friends, staff mourn Kyle Trotman’s death at 22

Most people remember the first time they met Kyle Trotman. For Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore, it was during Trotman’s freshman year, when he was a member of BU’s Marching Band drumline. “He was a skinny guy, putting some sass on a big drum,” says Elmore (SED’87).

Sarah Jill Bashein ran into Trotman at a group interview, when both were applying for jobs as student advisors for the College of Arts & Sciences orientation program. “He was eloquent, calm, professional, and totally self-assured,” says Bashein (CAS’11).

Sekani Allen remembers meeting Trotman on his first day of classes. Trotman introduced himself to the freshman at the Howard Thurman Center. “The thing that struck me the most,” recalls Allen (CAS’13), “was how warm and friendly he was. Kyle had such a vibrant personality.”

Across campus and across the country, friends are mourning the loss of Trotman (CAS’11), who died unexpectedly of natural causes on December 27 in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he grew up and where he returned after graduating from BU last May. An economics major, he was an analyst at JPMorgan Chase at the time of his death. He was 22 years old.

Many knew Trotman as a student leader at the Howard Thurman Center, BU’s multicultural center, where he developed the Brothers United program, which seeks to unite black male students. He also coordinated the center’s Cultural Mentorship program, which helps ease the transition to college for freshmen. Others knew him as a member of the Marching Band and as a mime performer with the Inner Strength Gospel Choir.

But staff, classmates, and friends will remember Trotman best as an extraordinary friend who had an unerring ability to know when someone needed a smile or a word of encouragement.

Kyle Trotman, Boston University Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore

Kyle Trotman, with his mentor and close friend, Dean of Students Kenn Elmore, at a Commencement reception last May.

“His immense character was displayed in his ability to put others before himself,” says Katherine Kennedy, director of the Thurman Center. “His commitment every day to be a blessing in other people’s lives encouraged them to be a better person.”

That was true for Allen, who says Trotman inspired him to become “a better man” and a better friend, and encouraged him to “always meet new people with a smile on my face.”

Joshua Reynolds (CFA’11, MET’13) recalls Trotman’s “affinity for life” and his ability “to make others enjoy life.” Others remember the sound advice he would quietly offer. “He always told me to focus on people who made me feel happy and valued,” says Bashein.

Elmore, who became a close friend and mentor to Trotman, says he was “the kind of person who was present. He was responsible. He carried himself with the utmost of dignity. He would put his arm around you and try to make you think or feel better. Kyle was the kind of person everyone wanted to know.”

Trotman’s love of BU and his deep involvement as a student leader and peer advisor were why BU Today chose to profile him last year on the eve of Commencement. In the video, Trotman talked about his dreams of one day becoming a dean of students, like Elmore. And he spoke with admiration of his single parent mother, noting that she “always pushed in my head that the way to succeed was having a college degree.” His graduation, he predicted, would be “as much an accomplishment for her as for me.”

“BU was his home,” says Elmore, “and we were his people.”

Kyle Trotman leaves his mother, Beverly Trotman, several devoted uncles, and an extended family of cousins.

Funeral services have been held. A memorial service will be held on campus in the coming weeks. BU Today will provide details when they become available.

john o'rourke, editor, bu today
John O’Rourke

John O’Rourke can be reached at orourkej@bu.edu.

8 Comments on Young Alum Remembered for Compassion, Friendship

  • Katherine Kennedy on 01.17.2012 at 8:00 am

    A great story for a great young man! Thanks for capturing the essence of Kyle Trotman.

  • Marlee McDonald on 01.17.2012 at 8:07 am

    Dear Kyle,
    We love you and miss you dearly, but you are an inspiration to us all. Yesterday I truly felt your presence at the MLK Day event and I know you are watching over us here on BU campus and wherever our travels and life may take us. Thank you for your love and hugs always. Best wishes to your family and as always, many prayers. Love, Marlee. <3

  • Reggie Jean on 01.17.2012 at 9:38 am

    I vivedly remember a story done on Kyle last year. He made such an impact on the world around him. It is one that will ripple forever. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

  • BU Mom on 01.17.2012 at 9:59 am

    As a single parent, my heart goes out to Kyle’s mom…what an incredible young man who lived life to its fullest…Kyle’s upbeat attitude and contagious love of life made a lasting impression on my BU daughter.

  • BU Employee on 01.17.2012 at 10:36 am

    Thank You for remembering this wonderful young man. Kyle’s family is also from my island of Barbados and he was so in love with visiting there. I remember his beautiful smile and his laugh, which made you laugh along with him. Kyle I will always remember you,naming me Ms. Bajan Diva. My Condolences to his mom Beverly Trotman .

  • Abena Nyarkomah Kwakyi on 01.17.2012 at 11:05 am

    Kyle was the brother I never had and the truest friend to many. His love and energy transcended all boundaries. We all miss you so much.
    Trotman, You served your purpose and did not live in vain! Thanks for your hugs, advice, smiles, inspiration and more. God keep you in perfect peace broski. We’re keeping you and our family in prayer forever. Till we meet again <3 Kwakyi

  • ANS on 01.17.2012 at 12:24 pm

    Blessed wishes to Kyle’s friends and family during this difficult. May you find comfort and serenity in all of your beautiful memories and tributes. Be well.

  • Ryan JS. on 01.17.2012 at 2:40 pm

    I did not have the pleasure of knowing Kyle well, but as soon as I saw his picture, I recalled marching with him in the BU Band. He wholeheartedly channeled the spirit of the drumline, bringing to it all his smiles and positive, uplifting energy, and embodied the values of the entire ensemble: music, spirit, and community. Reading this article and watching some videos of Kyle reminded me of all that I love about Boston University and the awesome work of Dean Elmore and the Howard Thurman Center. I am so glad he was a part of that and that we were in each other’s lives. The article also mentions how Kyle could make people smile or even “think or feel better,” as Elmore said. I’d say he’s still doing it. Kyle’s mind and body may be gone, but his compassion, joy, and loving-kindness surely continue to reverberate through our world.

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