NOLS Grieves Thomas Plotkin Tragedy


Sep 24, 2011

The NOLS community is saddened to share the tragic news that Thomas Plotkin, a student on a Semester in India course, is lost and presumed dead.

Thomas was 20 years of age and was a taking a semester off from his studies at the University of Iowa, where he was majoring in international business. A talented scholar-athlete, he played both ice hockey and lacrosse while maintaining high academic standards.

In his NOLS application, Thomas expressed the importance of teamwork and leading by example. He wrote of mentoring his younger teammates as a high school senior lacrosse player.

“I tried showing them through my own actions that if they worked hard and stayed disciplined, they could achieve great things down the road,” he wrote.

This commitment to leadership followed him to NOLS. His instructors report teamwork was strong within his group—that every member had an important role to play.

The Minnetonka, Minnesota native was the leader of the day for his coursemates when he twisted his ankle and fell while hiking a historic well-traveled trail in northern India. It is believed he fell into the Gori Ganga River approximately 100 yards below the trail. After three days of exhaustive searching, Thomas has not been found, but recovery efforts on the ground are ongoing.

The entire NOLS family aches with the loss of this incredible young man.

Link: Message from our Board Chair

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Coursemates honor Thomas Plotkin

Students and instructors stand on a solitary path that winds through the Milam Valley in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains. The Gori Ganga River rushes by below. They stand together to hang a few brass bells to memorialize their lost coursemate, Tom Plotkin or, as they came to call him, “T-Plot.”

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