Memorial set for Cornell freshman who drowned in the gorges

ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - The Cornell University community will hold a memorial for an incoming freshman who died while swimming in a gorge near Ithaca Falls over the weekend.

The memorial for Winston Perez Ventura will be held at 4:30 p.m. today.

The university released a statement on Saturday including that Winston was in Ithaca with fellow incoming students participating in the on-campus pre-Freshman Summer Program. He came to Cornell from the Bronx, New York, and was preparing to begin his studies at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.

Last year, a video of Perez-Ventura reading his acceptance letter went viral as he shared the emotional moment with classmates and friends. According to ABC News in New York, Perez-Ventura moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic when he was nine years old.

As a high school student at Democracy Prep Harlem High School, Winston participated in The Fellowship Initiative, an enrichment program for young men of color, according to Ryan Lombardi, vice president for Student and Campus Life.

"He was an exceptional person who would have contributed greatly to our university community," said Lombardi in his statement.

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