The Connecticut College community suffered a heartbreaking loss in the early morning hours of March 7. Elizabeth Durante '10, of West Islip, N.Y, was killed in a traffic collision on Interstate-395 in Montville, Conn. She was part of a group of Connecticut College students traveling to Uganda on a community service trip through the Asayo Wish Foundation.
A certified Emergency Medical Technician and an aspiring doctor, Elizabeth, 20, was passionate about Africa and wrote that she aspired to "saving the world, one day at a time." In 2007, she traveled to South Africa with the New London Collegiate Ministry to build relations between communities and visit local AIDS hospices. She was a psychology major with a focus on pre-med, and she volunteered as an EMT for the West Islip Fire Department.
With her friend Stefanie Hinman '10, Elizabeth spent her 2008 spring break at an orphanage in Kaberamaido, Uganda, where she joined a group of volunteers from Vassar College to provide medical services and bring medical supplies. This year, the two young women had organized a group from Connecticut College to return to the orphanage. The students raised money to pay their own travel expenses and to buy much-needed medical supplies.
Elizabeth and seven other Connecticut College students were traveling in a passenger van to Logan Airport for their flight to Uganda when the van was struck by a vehicle traveling the wrong way on I-395. The other students were taken to area hospitals. All but one have been treated and released.
In a statement to the Connecticut College community, President Leo I. Higdon Jr., said, "Elizabeth was a student of enormous talent, commitment and compassion. Her passing is an incalculable loss to our community. Our deepest sympathies are with Elizabeth's family and with her many friends on campus."
See a photo montage of Elizabeth's work in Africa on YouTube.