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Montana State University student who died 3 months before graduation honored at commencement

“Just walking around this campus, I can feel him here,” said Kalli Brahmstadt.
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Posted at 10:31 AM, May 16, 2023

BOZEMAN — Among the sea of caps and gowns at Montana State University's 2023 commencement ceremony, one student was missing, but surely not in spirit.

“This is where he became AJ,” said Mark Brahmstadt.

“Just walking around this campus, I can feel him here,” said Kalli Brahmstadt.

MSU senior AJ Brahmstadt passed away almost three months ago.

Even in photos, His mother Kalli and his father Mark say his love for his family, friends, and his university shines bright.

“He had an amazing smile that just lit up a room, just super genuine, and a great friend,” said Kalli.

At the graduation ceremony, AJ’s life was honored, and his parents got the opportunity to receive their son’s diploma.

“He worked so hard for it and not just the work he put in at school, it was the work he put into his friendships and even his work at the concrete company,” said Mark Brahmstadt.

AJ came to Montana state from Oregon, but his parents say it didn’t take long for him to find a home at MSU.

“Hunting, fishing, you name it,” said Mark. “He embraced all things Montana.”

“And he was just a ball of energy at every football game,” said Kalli.

Now, AJ’s university that he loved so much, is helping make sure his memory lives on.

This summer, AJ’s name will be added to the university student memorial.

“And we’ve got the scholarship set up in his name,” said Mark.

Thanks to Kalli and Mark, each fall, a student at MSU studying economics will receive a scholarship of more than $2,000 in honor of AJ.

They say they couldn’t be prouder of the legacy their son leaves behind.

“It’s just incredible how much he is going to be missed,” said Mark.

“He was larger than life and lived so incredibly hard for 21 years,” said Kalli.

Kalli and Mark say a tree near the student memorial will be planted in AJ’s honor hopefully on August 15, which just so happens to be his birthday.

Contributions to AJ’s memorial fund can be made at the MSU Alumni Foundation website.