April 27, 2017
On Tuesday afternoon, President David Wippman notified the Hamilton community about the sudden and tragic death of a Hamilton student, Annalise Curtis ’18. Curtis passed in Washington D.C., where she was studying through Hamilton’s Washington D.C. program. The College is in the process of organizing a memorial service, but in the meantime there was an informal gathering in the Chapel on Tuesday evening. At the gathering, students, professors and community members came together to support one another during this challenging time, sharing favorite memories and celebrating Curtis’s life.
Curtis, who came to Hamilton from California, was known around campus for her empathy, dedication and free spirit. She was involved in a variety of volunteer activities throughout her time at Hamilton, including working as an EMT, working on the Community Farm, organizing acoustic coffeehouses for C@B, tutoring with Project SHINE and working on the Prison Writing Archive.
Curtis’s work with C@B included taking over the Acoustic Coffeehouse Series during her sophomore year. “She was selected to fill some pretty big shoes on the C@B E-Board, and she came in and made the series her own. She picked her own artists and put her own spin on it,” explained Director of Student Activities Noelle Niznik. Niznik explained that Curtis was the kind of person who “wanted to be involved in order to give back and make others’ experiences better in a selfless kind of way.”
Curtis was also very politically active, volunteering on the Bernie Sanders Campaign. She continued to show that passion during her internship in D.C. at EMILY’s List, a progressive political action committee dedicated to diversity, inclusion and electing prochoice women to Democratic Party leadership positions.
According to Diann Lynch, the director of the EMTs on campus, Curtis was “passionate about everything that she was involved in.” Lynch, who considers the EMTs to be like her own children on campus, explained that after adjusting to the tough work that EMTs do with every call they receive, Curtis completely blossomed and became extremely confident in her work.
Upon completing her semester in D.C., Curtis was set to begin a research project studying contemporary utopian communities in the United States, for which she received an Emerson Grant. Professor of International Affairs Alan Cafruny, who is currently the director of the D.C. program, recounted some thoughts about Curtis, saying that she “was an outstanding student, intellectually curious, socially and politically engaged, generous, and warm.” Curtis will be remembered for her kindness by everyone whose lives she touched.
The Spectator welcomes community members to submit reflections and thoughts that could run in next week’s issue to celebrate Curtis’ life.