It is with deep sadness that I announce the death of Matvey Matsenov, a fourth-year student from Winchester, Va., who was pursuing a degree in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Matt, as he was known within the UVA community, took his own life on May 22.
We are holding in our thoughts and prayers his mother, Lilia Torshina, who lives in Williamsburg, Va., with Matt’s stepfather, Andy Kuchins; his father, Dmitry Matsenov, who lives in Moscow, Russia, and Vienna, Austria; other family members; and his friends and classmates at UVA. His family fervently hopes anyone who is struggling with depression will reach out for the help they need.
Matt was born in Moscow and came to the United States in 2015 with his mother. He proudly became a U.S. citizen in 2021. Although Russian was his first language, he was an articulate English speaker and writer. He excelled in all subjects, particularly math, history, and languages, and was able to finish his studies at John Handley High School in Winchester in three years. While there, he pursued his passion for community service and served as president of the Interact Club. In his application for admission to UVA, he credited that experience with helping him assimilate into the U.S. and opening his eyes to the needs of others. As a result of the many hours he devoted to community service through Interact, he was honored with the United Way Youth Volunteer Award for 2018.
Matt spoke of his concern for others in his admission essay, saying: “There are many people who are less fortunate, less smart, less financially able in the world than I am. I felt that I have to do something and give to others just as I have received in my life… Our world will always remain imperfect. There are takers and givers in this world. I want to be that giver.”
Outside of classes, Matt enjoyed several activities at UVA, including Ultimate Frisbee, spikeball on the Lawn, and pickup basketball. He had told his parents and friends he loved UVA.
One of his friends shared the following in tribute to Matt: “He had a humongous heart, always knew how to cheer up his friends, saw the best in everyone, had an incredible sense of humor, was incredibly compassionate, and without fail always saw the best in everyone. He was one of the most caring and thoughtful people I’ve ever met.”
A funeral service to celebrate Matt’s life will be held this month. Nelson Funeral Home in Williamsburg, Va., is in charge of the arrangements.
The loss of a classmate and fellow member of our community is difficult, especially when the community is not together on Grounds during the regular academic year. If you are a student and need support during this time, you may call Counseling and Psychological Services at 434-243-5150. You may also access around-the-clock mental health services via phone or video through TimelyCare. If you are not already signed up, you can register at timelycare.com/uva with your student email address.
Please keep Matt’s family and friends in your thoughts at this very difficult time.
Robyn S. Hadley
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer,
Dean of Students
If you’re in crisis, options are available to help you cope. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to speak to someone and get support 24/7.