Students Remember CAS Sophomore
Wake will be Tuesday; Funeral Wednesday
Dozens of students convened on the Howard Thurman Center Thursday night to hug, share stories, and mourn the loss of 19-year-old College of Arts & Sciences sophomore Michael DeVito — fraternity brother, friend, and aspiring mathematician.
BU staff were at the center to welcome students and offer what help they could. Daryl DeLuca, assistant dean of students, passed along a message from DeVito’s parents.
“They are extremely, extremely saddened by their tragic loss,” he said. “But they were taken aback by the amount of support they have received from you.”
A spontaneous memorial appeared on Marsh Plaza, where friends and fellow fraternity brothers had placed a box of Mike & Ike’s, DeVito’s fraternity pin, and a framed photo of him with the caption: “Brother, your memory will live on with us forever.”
At the center, students gathered around folding tables and sunk into armchairs, dabbing away tears amid looks of disbelief and shock. Counselors and chaplains circulated to speak with students one-on-one and in groups.
Kyle Langan remembered DeVito, whom he’d known for just seven months, as “a guy in every sense of the word,” but also as “a lightning bolt and a wake-up call to everyone.”
“He was always one of the driving forces in the fraternity,” said Langan (CAS’10). “He ground us in our morals.”
Other friends remember DeVito as a huge sports fan, whose favorites were the Rams and Yankees. He loved music, especially the Beatles, and knew how to cut a rug.
“He loved to dance,” said Elise Yannett (CAS’12).
DeVito also loved Italian food, especially whatever came from his mother’s kitchen. His favorite, said roommate Zach Taylor (COM’12), was her chicken cutlets. Taylor remembers him coming back to their apartment and stacking the fridge with her cooking.
DeVito was generous too, friends said. They told of the time he spotted a $70 pizza bill, no questions asked.
Yannett always sought out DeVito when she was having a bad day: “I just knew he would make me happy,” she said.
Langan said DeVito had mentioned that he had a heart problem, but his sudden death came as a shock to everyone. “He was fine,” Taylor added, “which is what makes it so difficult. It just happened.”
DeVito, of Rye, N.Y., was found early Thursday morning. A Boston Police spokesperson says police responded to an “unconscious person” call at 50 Gardner St. at 8:30 a.m. When police arrived at the house, which is occupied by members of the Sigma Chi fraternity, emergency medical technicians were applying CPR. DeVito was transported by ambulance to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Boston University Police Chief Thomas Robbins says there is no evidence of foul play. As in the case of all unattended deaths, the death is being investigated by the Boston Police.
Counseling for students is available at the department of behavioral medicine at Student Health Services, 881 Commonwealth Ave., 617-353-3569.A
Michael DeVito’s wake will be held Tuesday, February 9 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Coxe and Graziano Funeral Home, 767 East Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, N.Y. (914) 698-5968.
A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m., February 10, at St. Gregory the Great Rectory/Church, 215 Halstead Ave., Harrison, New York.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the American Heart Association.
The Dean of Students’ office is sponsoring buses to travel to DeVito’s funeral in Westchester County, New York on Wednesday. For more information visit the Web site.
Leslie Friday can be reached at email@example.com.