The Stephen Csatari Memorial Award

Established by family, friends and fellow students in memory of Stephen Csatari, a third year honours History student at the International Study Centre in 2002, who died suddenly of a rare and undetected heart defect.

Stephen Csatari was a third year history student at Queen’s, attending the International Study Centre in Herstmonceux for the winter semester, January through April, 2002, fulfilling a wish he expressed at the beginning of first year – he knew early on that he wanted to study in England.

He had a passion for history from a very young age, especially anything related to the two World Wars of the last century. This led to a keen interest in modern European history, and he was very enthusiastic about his Military History courses at the I.S.C, with field trips to the Flanders battlefields in Belgium, the beaches of Normandy, and a visit to Vimy Ridge as some of the highlights. He was enthused about the many field studies taken in London, especially to the Imperial War Museum, a favourite destination. He was just as enthusiastic about the social excursions in London, taken with his girlfriend Avery Guthrie (also a third year history student at Queen’s) and many new friends from the Castle. Stephen had been to London prior to this trip, but it was a favourite destination and he always discovered something new and interesting – he loved to explore the city. He was equally as enthusiastic about the Art History course he took at the I.S.C., and wrote home often about the incredible wealth of galleries London has to offer.

Stephen felt that his experience at the Castle was the highlight of his academic life to date. The proximity to many historical sites made frequent field trips possible, not to mention the proximity to France and Belgium, the destinations for the mid-winter break for his year – he and his friends had an incredible time, and were especially enthusiastic about the cuisine! He also found the Castle and its grounds very beautiful and interesting – based on his reports home, his parents decided to visit in February and were very impressed with the beauty of the setting and surrounding area.

During the first week of April, the weather was beautiful – a real English spring, and Stephen decided to go for a run before dinner one evening along a country road outside the castle grounds – a favourite route for walks and jogging. When he didn’t return, his girlfriend and other friends went looking for him, only to find police at the spot where he had collapsed. He died of a fatal heart rhythm disturbance, brought on by exercise, as a result of a rare, hereditary heart defect he was not aware he had. He was twenty years old.

The staff and students at the I.S.C. have established several memorials to Stephen, and were incredibly supportive to his mother, father and sister during the days they stayed at Bader Hall following his death. A giant Sequoia Redwood tree was planted in the beautiful Rhododendron Gardens behind the castle during a tree planting ceremony attended by all the students and staff, chosen by the head gardener to reflect Stephen’s height – he was 6 ft., 8 in. tall. It will be the tallest tree in the area when it matures. A commemorative stone and plaque have been placed at the spot along the road where Stephen fell, along with a garden which will be tended by the Castle groundskeepers. There is also a memorial garden and sitting area being established along the pathway from Bader Hall to the castle, in a grove of trees the students pass by every day on their way to classes and meals.

Stephen was a tall, funny, very personable young man and a very good student – he was always at or near the top of his history classes. He was awarded his Degree in history posthumously at Spring Convocation, 2002. He loved his experience at the I.S.C., made great friends and enjoyed travelling through Britain and Europe while he was there. For this reason, and because of the tremendous support given by the staff and students there, his family decided to establish this memorial award in his name.

His family’s wish is that you will find it as enriching and rewarding an experience as he did, and that your studies will be greatly enhanced by such a wonderful international experience. We hope this award will help make it possible.

STEPHEN JOHN EDWIN CSATARI - September 14, 1981 – April 6, 2002