Senior Joseph Glantey, 26, died in a car accident on March 23.
Glantey, a math major, had been training at Rochester Institute of Technology's ROTC program with plans to serve in the U.S. Army. The accident occurred when he was on his way back to Geneseo from a physical training session.
John Helfer of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office told the Democrat and Chronicle that Glantey's car crossed into the oncoming lane and crashed head-on into a National Grid utility truck at about 8:15 a.m. on East River Road. Glantey had been traveling alone; he was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the truck was unharmed.
Glantey grew up in Ghana, but his father lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. and he has family in the Rochester area. He enrolled at Geneseo through the Access Opportunity Program after transferring from Binghamton University in January 2010 and had previously participated in Cornell's ROTC program. Glantey is survived by his wife and children, who reside in Ghana. His mother died during the fall semester.
"He had a lot of potential to be a good leader," said senior Thomas Kessler, the only other Geneseo student enrolled in RIT's ROTC program. "I was always impressed with how he dealt with his peers."
"It's more shocking than anything," said junior Erik Talbot, one of Glantey's housemates. "I found out about it on Thursday [March 24] night on the news."
"It was a shock," said junior Ryan Avery, another of Glantey's housemates. "He left Wednesday and didn't come back."
"Joseph entered Geneseo through our Access Opportunity Program and was an academically talented, promising student who was actively involved with his campus and community and dedicated to the service of his country," wrote President Christopher Dahl in an email to the campus community on March 25.
Glantey had reportedly wanted to work in hospital administration after his discharge from the Army. He had expressed interest in being an officer in the medical corps or army intelligence. ROTC instructor Maj. Donald Powell told the Democrat and Chronicle that Glantey had been learning to swim so that he could pass a swimming test and become a commissioned officer. He had also made plans to attend a military leadership course.
"He was charismatic, dedicated and driven to achieve," said Kessler. "I think he would have definitely done so."
Senior Rejoyce Owusu met Glantey when he decided to join The Ghana Project and said he was like "a big brother" to the members of the club, several of whom are Ghanaian. He had lent 20 of his shirts for use in The Ghana Gala on March 21. She said that Glantey had wanted to eventually move back to Ghana to start a video arcade.
"He felt like he could make a really good business out of it," said freshman Chika Odume. She recalled his love of movies, especially My Cousin Vinny, and said that he liked eating rice, wanted to see Broadway shows and was passionate about the army. "If it wasn't for the army, he wouldn't be [in college]," she said. "That was his life."
Odume said he was "a very caring brother" and helped build his family's home in Ghana.
"Everyone who knew Joseph knew he was a happy person … he was one of those people that lived in the moment," Owusu said. "He wouldn't want us to be sad."
"He was just a really nice guy," said Avery. "I remember one day my younger brother and his friends wanted to watch TV in our living room and it wasn't working. I went out and when I came back I saw that Joe had set up his own TV for them. That's just how he was."
"He had an intense desire to better himself and be a better cadet," Powell said. "He came into my office on a frequent basis and asked what he could do to help himself be a better cadet. So I think he would have made himself a fine officer, I really do."
"No matter what happened, he just seemed to be happy," Odume said. "He wanted to experience everything and do everything."
Public calling hours for Glantey will be on April 5 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. at Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home in Rochester. Students may register for free bus tickets at the Student Association Ticket Office.
Managing editor Kevin Muller contributed additional reporting to this article.