Tech mourns the loss of second-year CS Major

Friends and family of Jakob Riley Martin hold candles at his vigil. Jakob was a beloved member of the Tech community before his passing on New Year’s Eve. // Photo by Taylor Gray Student Publications

On Thursday, Jan. 13 a vigil was held in Harrison Square to remember the life of Jakob “Jake” Riley Martin. Martin or “Mart,” as his friends knew him, was a second-year CS major from Dacula, Ga. who passed away during a tragic car accident on New Year’s Eve near his hometown. 

On campus, Jakob was involved with the Georgia Tech Student Foundation Investments Committee and was a brother of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity here on campus.

The vigil, organized by the undergraduate SGA, welcomed members of the Tech community to honor Martin’s life by sharing stories and lighting lanterns in remembrance.

Martin’s family, girlfriend and fraternity brothers were all in attendance to remember his impact, both on the lives of those he knew, and on the Tech community at large.

The vigil began with a message from undergraduate SGA president Samuel Ellis, who spoke to the great sadness felt by not just Jakob’s friends and family, but the entire Institute. Ellis also took time to note that a CARE clinician and a chaplain was on site to support students in need. The vigil then proceeded with those close to Jake speaking about the impact he had on their personal lives.  

Members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity told of how magnetic his personality was and how sure they were of his genuine personality from the first day they met him.

Jakob’s girlfriend and stepfather spoke to how much he cared for his friends, family and fraternity brothers. Stories were shared about how his passion and loyalty shined through in everything he did, including during his time working at Chick-fil-A in Hamilton Mill, where he worked throughout high school and during breaks from Tech.

Other friends and acquaintances of Martin told of the various ways he had impacted their lives from childhood, all the way to weeks before his passing. His love of video games, dancing and hanging out with those closest to him were some of his greatest traits and what made him such a magnetic person to those around him.

Many of those who spoke emphasized that those in attendance should never take anything for granted and to cherish the time they have with those around them.  

It seemed that even after his passing, Jakob had continued to touch and influence the hearts of many, both those closest to him and those who were lucky enough to have met him at some point throughout his life.

After everyone who wished to speak had finished, President Ellis closed out the vigil by reading SGA’s resolution of condolence for Jakob, notably concluding that Jakob “was and still is beloved, and his impact will always be positively felt on his loved ones and on the broader Georgia Tech community.”

Jakob is survived by his parents, friends, fraternity brothers and those fortunate enough to have met him in his time here at the Institute, and he will continue to be remembered.