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Remembering Corey Baron

corey baron

Corey Baron was the kind of person all of our parents hoped we’d turn out to be.

I first remember talking to Corey in the late afternoon light of the School of Management courtyard about his book blog. It was the most impressive reading list I’d ever seen; Corey was known to read 100 books a year. I marveled at Corey about the diversity of books he had consumed in the past couple of months — on opportunities for capitalism to evolve, the shortcomings of our education system, institutional racism, love stories, historical fiction and more. 

It wasn’t just a personal exercise. For every book that Corey read, friends and colleagues would donate to Book Trust, a nonprofit that helps under-resourced students build personal libraries and develop a love of learning. His response to my incredulity was typically nonchalant: “Oh, it’s just a fun way to stay occupied.”

Corey’s performance in the classroom and extracurriculars made him an academic icon for those of us in the Blue Cohort, one of the student sections first-years are divided into. In Social Impact Lab, CBEY 2050 Fellows and research for various centers at Yale, he didn’t flaunt his knowledge; instead, he approached learning with humility. We relished the moments during classroom discussions when Corey would lean into the mic and incisively capture cross-cutting themes or introduce an angle we hadn’t considered.

He was sneakily hilarious too. During the dog days of the spring semester, our cohort came up with a secret challenge to insert funny sayings during discussions to keep the atmosphere loose like “the early bird catches the worm” or “the apple never falls far from the tree.” One day in “Operations,” one of our mandatory courses, Corey took on the crown jewel of the list: asking a question in the form of a haiku. It was so seamless and elegant that many hadn’t even realized it happened. That was Corey. 

Of all the headlines and spotlights I expected to read about Corey throughout his life, news of his untimely passing hits particularly cruelly. With his prolific contributions to the social sector, I have no doubt that Corey’s future accomplishments would have placed him in the realm of the School of Management’s most esteemed graduates. 

But his greatest gift to his classmates wasn’t his transformative reports on food insecurity or finance in the nonprofit sector, compassion as a teaching fellow, or commitment to community — it was the model he set for the rest of us about how to wield a Yale degree and all its trappings with meditation, introspection, and constant consideration for the benefit of others. In this way, Corey was the sort of student that Yale dreams of producing, and we miss him greatly.

In his final days, Corey indicated that he would appreciate donations to the Inside Out Youth Services, New Roots Institute and Team Read in his memory. Each of these organizations aligns deeply with Corey's priorities, and I encourage you to join me in donating.

Chris Perkins graduated with a joint degree from the School of Environment and School of Management in 2021. Contact Chris at