Community mourns Emily Benatar
Emily Benatar, a freshman and member of Alpha Phi sorority, was known by her friends at and outside Washington University as creative, affable and constantly upbeat.
She passed away in Barnes Hospital on May 9, from complications arising from meningococcal disease.
Senior and president of Alpha Phi sorority, Sally Cohen, still remembers the charismatic first impression she had of Emily.
“Within Alpha Phi, Emily was one of the people that I first really took a liking to during rush this past fall because she was incredibly poised and confident, and she sort of had a glimmer in her eye; she had a sort of spunk in her look and the way she carried herself that was sort of magnetic,” Cohen said. “She was a really big presence in her pledge class and she was fearless in getting to know everyone.”
A vigil was held in her honor outside of Dardick Hall the evening after her passing. Days later, a memorial service was held in her honor in her hometown of Palo Alto, bringing together several hundred of Benatar’s family members and friends.
The loss was felt deeply by her friends and sorority sisters at the University as well.
“She was a really fun-loving, kind of thoughtful girl overall, and I think we all wish that we had more time to really get to know her on a deeper level,” Cohen said. “She was a big unifier too within her pledge class. It’s incredibly impressive the mark that Emily left on our chapter in just one semester.”
Though Benatar had spent one only one year at the University, the leadership, kindness and outgoing personality she demonstrated will not be soon forgotten by her classmates and friends.
“She had a really large impact not only on her grade but on every person that she was able to meet within Alpha Phi,” Cohen said. “She had a unique quality about her that she was able to make connections so quickly with so many people.”