Former GW student and Law School senior financial aid assistant Darvelle McShay died April 7 at Howard University Hospital of pulmonary hypertension. McShay was 25 years old and had worked for the University since 1994.
Doctors had treated McShay for a heart murmur since he was born. Relatives said he did not like to talk about his illness.
“We didn’t know how bad he was,” said Pamela McShay, Darvelle’s aunt. “He was a lively person, always full of life. When he needed help we were there for him.”
McShay started attending classes part-time at GW in 1995. He switched to part-time classes at the University of the District of Columbia last summer. He was pursuing a major in criminal justice with plans to become a lawyer.
“That’s all he ever said, that he wanted to be a lawyer,” McShay’s aunt said.
In the financial aid office at the Law School, McShay was the first contact for students seeking aid, and he advised students on the process. McShay befriended many students who came into the office, said Bob Stanek, dean of admissions and financial aid for the law school.
“He was a good employee, often here on weekends getting caught up on paperwork,” he said. “He’s going to be greatly missed, the whole office is really struggling to cope with his loss.”
Shawn McShay, Darvelle’s cousin and a senior beginning the MBA program at West Virginia Wesleyan College, worked under him in the financial aid office for three summers. He said Darvelle enjoyed his job at GW.
“He loved the people who worked in the office,” he said. “He liked his job a lot and liked working with students.”
McShay was raised in Southeast D.C., an area family members said he grew up surrounded by drugs and bad influences.
“He kept away from all of that,” McShay’s aunt said. “He was one of the good ones . he was determined to make something of his life.”
Friends and relatives said McShay enjoyed dining out and going to
parties and clubs, but his great love was music.
“He had a CD collection, the likes of which I’ve never seen before,” Stanek said. McShay owned almost every Whitney Houston and Prince album, his aunt said.
Friends said McShay also went to movies during his free time.
“He seemed to see a new movie once every week,” Stanek said.
McShay’s cousin Shawn said McShay was taking a literature class at UDC and may have been trying to publish a book.
McShay loved to be outside, always taking walks around D.C. on his lunch break, his cousin said.
In the summer of 1999, McShay did some modeling work in New
His aunt said McShay had a history of heart problems on his father’s side. McShay’s father died of heart failure in 1997.
“He kept a lot of (his heart problems) from people,” his aunt said. “He was special to us.”