GW mourns deaths of alumnus, law student

Steven Smith was known for his passion for sports

Alumnus Steven Smith – a 2008 graduate and former sports broadcaster for WRGW Radio – was killed in New York Dec. 13, when his car slid off an icy road.

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Smith got out of his car to check his vehicle and was hit by another car that skid off the highway. The 24-year-old was taken to a hospital where he later died.

New York State Troopers were investigating the accident, but did not return request for comment about what the investigation turned up.

Following his death, Smith’s friends, former WRGW colleagues and Twitter followers?wrote blog posts about his life, hosted radio shows about Smith’s love for sports, posted memories on Smith’s?Facebook wall, and tweeted about the man they said was destined to do great things with his life.

Senior Ben Toder traveled with Smith to broadcast Colonials basketball games, and said Smith’s love for GW sports and sports broadcasting made him a staple at WRGW.

“He absolutely?loved sports and GW basketball,” Toder said. “It’s remarkable how enthusiastic he was.”

Senior Max Feinblatt also worked with Smith, and said Smith’s love for sports and Colonials basketball was unmistakable.

“In my tenure at GW the basketball team has not been very good, and his passion was there regardless,” Feinblatt said. “Not just for the team, but for the station to get more broadcast time and to bring people out to the games, trying to get a good crowd. He couldn’t have been more into GW sports.”

David Earl, an alumnus who now does marketing for the GW Athletic Department, said Smith was a sports fanatic headed for a successful career in sports broadcasting.

“He was passionate in sports, in relationships and he was never afraid to throw himself out there,” Earl said. “I have little doubt that with his willingness to say something controversial and unpopular and his impeccable knowledge of the history, statistics and intangibles to back it up, he would have one day been a sports journalist or entertainer (or, both) that everyone loved to hate, but had to respect.”

Others took to Twitter to profess their sadness of the loss of @Stevensmithy – Smith’s Twitter account boasting 600 followers – all eager to read his posts about Smith’s favorite sports team, the Yankees, and other recent sports news.

The Albany Times Union published a story about the news of Smith’s death rippling through the Twitter-sphere, as fellow Yankees fans mourned the loss of a passionate and knowledgeable fan.

Friends and family are looking to establish a fund in Smith’s name to further sports broadcasting at the University.

Written by Senior News Editor Emily Cahn


Law professor called Eric Fatla ‘brilliant’

A GW Law student died the evening of Dec. 27 after falling down a staircase in Chicago.

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Eric Fatla, 26, died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after falling down the stairs at the Union League Club in Chicago on Christmas Eve. Police say his death appears to be an accident, but did not return request for comment for further details.

He died at 1:02 p.m., the Chicago Tribune reported, citing the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy was scheduled for Dec. 28 but the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office did not return a request for comment.

Fatla was home in Illinois for the holidays when he and his father, Ed, went to the Union League Club for dinner on Christmas Eve. Ed Fatla went to the restroom and when he returned, he found Eric at the bottom of the stairs, said professor Jonathan Turley, who had been in contact with Fatla’s parents.

The family does not know what caused the fall but plans to ask the Union League Club for its security tapes, Turley said.

The Union League did not return a request for comment.

“Eric was just a wonderful person. He had an exceptionally bright future,” Turley, Fatla’s torts professor, said. “He packed a lot into what is now a tragically short life.”

Interim Law School Dean Gregory Maggs said in a statement last month that?Fatla’s death “saddens the entire GW Law community.”

“When a student with such wonderful potential is taken from us, we all deeply feel the loss,” Maggs said. “Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family, friends, and classmates during this difficult time.”

Fatla, a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University, worked as a congressional staffer for former U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Ill.

“I cannot express the profound sadness over the loss of Eric who was a brilliant young man with an extraordinary background and an even brighter future,” Turley said.

Story written by Editor in Chief Lauren French

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