Friends and professors of Daniel Levitt gathered on the 12th floor of Anderson Hall on Thursday for a memorial of the sophomore pre-pharmacy major who passed away on Oct. 23 in Diamond Green Apartments.
Levitt, 18, of Columbia, Maryland, attended the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Baltimore where he studied culinary arts.
Several friends read letters to Levitt and spoke about his impact, inspiration and his genuine personality. They also showed a slideshow of photos from his childhood and time at college.
Kaitlyn Nevin, a sophomore sport, tourism and hospitality management major, befriended Levitt after meeting him in 1300 Residence Hall, which was their dorm freshman year.
“I can’t begin to tell you how many people texted me about how much they loved seeing my Snapchats with you because your spirit and genuine personality was provable,” Nevin read from her letter. “As heartbroken as I am that I no longer get to hear from you, I am glad that every single memory I have with you is a good one, whether it was us venturing into the city to try a new restaurant or just meeting up at the Bell Tower to people watch in between classes, you always kept me laughing and entertained.”
Nevin also said she would miss everyone asking her and Levitt if they were siblings or twins. One of her favorite last memories she has with him was her putting makeup on Levitt to see if it would make the two of them look more alike.
Amanda Dinh, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major and close friend of Levitt, said he left her memories and values that will last her a lifetime.
“I admire your intelligence and loving of each subject, from cooking to chemistry,” Dinh said. “Most of all, I am inspired by how you were never afraid to laugh at yourself and admit your flaws.”
Andrea Quartey, who met Levitt during freshman orientation along with Dinh and others, said Levitt had quickly become a “permanent fixture” in her life.
“You were unapologetically you and you didn’t care what anyone thought,” said Quartey, a sophomore biology major. “As someone who struggled with that kind of awareness, being your friend has made me realize that the best thing in life for me to be is yourself.”
Jina Ok, a sophomore biology major and Julia Ostrovsky, a sophomore advertising major, also read letters to Levitt. Ostrovsky had known Levitt since high school.
Ostrovsky and Levitt also lived in 1300 Residence Hall together and she said he became like her “fifth roommate.”
She added that she saw Levitt a week before he passed away while she was mentoring international students.
“He gave them all this advice that I couldn’t even think of giving to them, he told them how to get around the city, he helped them with studying tips and it was really touching,” said Ostrovsky, who also lived in Diamond Green Apartments this year.
Nahla Ward, a senior criminal justice and Spanish major, was Levitt’s Owl Team Leader during freshman orientation. She sang “Amazing Grace” and talked about how inspiring it was to see that Levitt stayed close with the friends he made during orientation.
Levitt was a lover of the arts and even with difficult courses, several of his friends said he would constantly ask them to attend an opera, a Philadelphia Orchestra concert or a new restaurant in the city.
“Even with rigorous classes, he would always find time to be excited,” Ok said. “When we were always stressed about an exam, he would pick up a bottle of something and tell us about the chemical ingredients while we were all struggling to learn the basics.”
Levitt’s funeral was held on Oct. 26 in Maryland. His parents, Denise and Hal Levitt, asked for contributions to a charity of one’s choice.
If students are in need of support, Tuttleman Counseling Services is available at 1810 Liacouras Walk or at 215-204-7276.
Emily Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @emilyivyscott.