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Community gathers to remember life of Ginwala

Friends, family and faculty release balloons after a moment of silence honoring Ginwala. Michelle Rattinger | Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Frankie Kane.

Friends, family and members of the GW community gathered to remember Ismail Ginwala Tuesday, describing the junior as filled with political passion and driven to help others.

The 50 individuals gathered in Guthridge Park compared Ginwala’s sense of humor with his intellect and modesty.

Ginwala was found dead in the City Hall residence hall April 13. Police have labeled the death a suicide.

The California-native was sharper than he outwardly showed himself, Nicole Scro, a member of the Roosevelt Institute, said. She added that he had the “ability to find the deeper meaning and things and find a way to laugh about it.”

Rory Silver, who also became friends with Ginwala through the Roosevelt Institute, read aloud examples of “Ismail-isms” – or phrases Ginwala would often say.

Silver said two months before Ginwala would have a paper due, he would talk about how his work would revolutionize the world. A month prior to deadline, Ginwala would call the paper great.

“Two weeks before it’s due, ‘my paper will be at least a B,’” Silver said his friend could be heard saying. “Three hours before it’s due, ‘I wonder if the professor will notice that all my punctuation is size 72.’”

Junior Gabriela Farias, one of the coordinators of the memorial service, gives a speech in honor of Ginwala Tuesday night at Guthridge Park. Michelle Rattinger | Photo Editor

University President Steven Knapp offered his condolences to Ginwala’s friends and family.

“It’s easy to get distracted and forget about those around us,” Knapp said.

Ginwala’s father, Cassim Ginwala, thanked those for the support his family has received from the GW, adding that his son loved living in D.C.

A screen set up on the grass displayed a collection of photos of Ginwala, with the Katy Perry song “Firework” playing in the background. Junior Amish Shah said Ginwala spent five days constantly singing the song, joking that the student was good at everything besides singing.

Ginwala interned at the Iraqi Embassy and on Capitol Hill. He also served as a California delegate for the Democratic Party and passed the Foreign Service Exam last summer.

Student Association President Jason Lifton said Ginwala “will not only be missed by all of us gathered here tonight, but by everyone who may not have had the opportunity to get to know him.”

Lifton said he believed Ginwala’s political spirit was captured in a post he made on the Roosevelt Institute’s Facebook page, which read, “If it helps the life of one person, then it’s worth it.”

At the end of the service, attendants released balloons with written messages to Ginwala into the sky.

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