Friends gather to remember Gupta as outgoing, kind

Gupta's father, Vinod, began the memorial speaking proudly of his son's accomplishments that include working for former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as well as the State Department. The family reported Gupta, 28, died in his sleep. Michelle Rattinger | Senior Photo Editor

Correction appended

Family and friends gathered Thursday to remember Benjamin Gupta, a 28-year-old law and business student who died in his sleep Monday.

An autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death.

Jess Gupta remembered the comedic faces his brother used to make at family functions – faces he said he was “grateful” he was able to see just a month ago during Thanksgiving.

“I’ll keep him in my heart forever, and I know all of you will do the same,” Jess Gupta said.

Kris Balderston, the managing director of the Global Partnership Initiative, said Gupta brought his unique listening, problem solving and comedic skills to the office daily.

“He was an old wise man trapped in a young man’s body and a member of the State Department family,” Balderston said.

The JD and MBA candidate worked as a partnership coordinator for the Global Partnership Initiative – a program that brings together public and private groups to collaborate on diaspora, economic, health and sustainability-related projects.

Vinod Gupta said it was “not easy” to send his son off to private school at the age of 14, as he was “continuously worried about his health and happiness.”

Gupta attended the Phillips Exeter Academy and Boston University, where he received a bachelor of arts in economics and psychology. The Omaha, Neb. native worked as a staff assistant for then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., in 2007.

The family asked that, in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to the World Education Foundation in Omaha.

The University will host an additional memorial service when students return to campus in January.

University President Steven Knapp said Gupta’s death was a tragic time for GW as this was the third graduate student to die this semester. Jenny Gonzalez Perdomo died Dec.13 from a sudden illness and Patrick David Casey, an Afghanistan war veteran, died following a physical assault in September.

This post has been updated Dec. 23, 2011 to reflect the following: The Hatchet misspelled Vinod Gupta’s name as Vinoid Gupta.

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