Students, faculty and staff gathered on two occasions this week to remember sophomore Laura Treanor, who died in her Ivory Tower room on Friday.
On Monday, a memorial service drew more than 1,000 people to the Smith Center, and about 50 students attended a Catholic Mass at the Newman Catholic Center on Tuesday. Treanor was a member of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority and a contributing Life editor at The Hatchet.
At the Smith Center, friends, colleagues and sorority sisters delivered prepared remarks and provided an open forum for others to come forward with memories and thoughts.
University President Steven Knapp opened the service by contrasting the joy of the inauguration that gripped the District one week ago to the somber tragedy that befell the GW community over the weekend.
“I hope [Treanor’s death] will remind us to cherish each day, to take care of one another and to hold fast to our family and friends,” Knapp said.
Many who spoke remembered Treanor for the passionate attitude she brought to everyday activities. They remembered her smile and the little things that excited her, including shouting the name of friends if she saw them across the street.
“Laura would have wanted to be remembered for her patriotism and love for America,” said one friend who spoke. Another friend read the opening verse of The Beatles song “In My Life.”
Brittany Levine, Treanor’s fellow life editor at The Hatchet, said she would always remember the jeans, ballet flats and blue nail polish Treanor wore when they worked together on Sundays.
Amanda Lintelman, one of her roommates this year, said Treanor was the perfect person to confide in and to talk to, and that “she was always willing to do anything for anyone.” She said that although everyone knew otherwise, Treanor had always maintained that she did not have a New York accent, a memory that drew chuckles from the audience.
Carrie Bino, Treanor’s big sister in Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, remembered a time during their sorority’s reverse-discovery week when Treanor did not finish the paddle that she was supposed to make for Bino.
“She didn’t finish my paddle, so she decorated my room every day for a week to make sure that I felt special,” Bino said.
After the service, Phi Sigma Sigma hosted an open house reception for all who attended.
Liz Weiss attended the reception though she said she did not know Treanor personally, but instead to support her friends and the GW community.
“She seemed to touch everyone’s lives,” Weiss said.
Students came to their knees in prayer at the Newman Catholic Center Tuesday, where Treanor once served as a lector.
The crowd sat in silence before the service began, amid Jesus on the cross and stained glass windows. Father Peter Giovanoni, the Newman Center chaplain, led the memorial Mass that included hymns, communion and a reading from the Book of Wisdom.
“The church exists in heaven,” Giovanoni said. “It extends across all time and space. We pray for our friends here and those who have gone beyond.”
Giovanoni called the group together to say “farewell to Laura, in a faithful way.”