Gabrielle Perry, class of 2016, passed away on Feb. 21, 2017 in a car crash on Route 28 in Loudoun County, Virginia; the driver of the vehicle she was in was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Perry was just 22 years old.
Perry, a double major in religion and English, was a resident of Leesburg, Virginia.
“Gabby was one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met,” said Michael Rooney, who was friends with her since freshman year. “She had an infectious laugh and a smile that would light up the room. I know it sounds cliché, but it was honestly true. She was one of the greatest people I knew.”
Perry was deeply involved at Hofstra not only with her friends, but as an activist with Student Advocates of Safer Sex (SASS) and through Hofstra Concerts.
“Our friendship grew closer through our membership in Hofstra Concerts, where we shared way too much time talking music, concerts and politics, instead of doing work,” said Jeremy Sporn, another close friend. “Gabby was an incredible individual who would put anyone or anything before herself. Her bubbly personality and friendliness was clear to everyone, even to those she didn’t know.”
Police arrested the 26-year-old man who was allegedly drunk driving when he crashed his Jeep Wrangler into a traffic divider. Both Perry and a female passenger were thrown from the vehicle. The passenger had serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to authorities.
“It’s absolutely tragic losing somebody so young, with such a beautiful soul and bright mind and with so much left to do in this world,” Rooney said. “I feel so lucky to be able to call her my best friend.”
Dr. Ann M. Burlein, an associate professor of religion, is just one example of the variety of people Perry touched.
“She wrote a senior thesis for which she interviewed Muslim women on campus, to learn what their experiences of Hofstra’s campus were,” she said. “She was [also] a passionate and devoted advocate of women’s sexual health.”
Rooney said he visited Perry’s family in Virginia for her wake, along with almost 40 others from Hofstra who made the journey.
“That shows just how loved she was, and still is. It’s a tough time for all right now, but she wouldn’t want us to mourn. She would want us to remember all the good times we had together and the memories we shared,” he said.
Perry is survived by her mother and father, Steve and Myrna; Priscilla, Arvin, Allen, Scotty and Donna and her grandfather, Pete Perry.
Sporn said, “She was absolutely my best friend at Hofstra and I am going to miss her greatly.”
Corrections: An earlier version of this article said Perry was in another car that was hit by the drunk driver. She was in the Jeep Wrangler that crashed. The earlier version also incorrectly named her siblings. The Chronicle apologizes to Perry's friends and family for those errors.