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Death of SU student in Florence, Italy, ruled as accidental
Death of SU student in Florence, Italy, ruled as accidentalApril 12, 2001Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
A magistrate in Florence, Italy, April 12 closed the case involving the April 8 death of Syracuse University student MariAnne McDonald. Her death was ruled as accidental. McDonald, a junior illustration major in the School of Art and Design of SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), was studying this semester at SU’s center in Florence. At about 3 a.m. Sunday (Italian time), a neighbor found McDonald lying face down in a parking area behind the home of her host family. She is believed to have fallen from a balcony off of a kitchen on the third floor of the house. McDonald’s parents, Dr. Lawrence McDonald and Claudette McDonald of Berkeley, N.J., flew to Florence earlier this week. They plan to return to the United States Friday, accompanied by the Rev. Thomas V. Wolfe, dean of SU’s Hendricks Chapel. McDonald’s body is expected to be transported stateside next week. More than 250 people attended a memorial service at 10 a.m. today (Italian time) at the Church of San Francesco, across the piazza from the Florence center’s Villa Rossa. Dean Wolfe presided. Also making remarks were Barbara Deimling, resident director of the center; VPA Interim Dean Carole Brzozowski; Dr. McDonald; graduate teaching assistant Betsy Purvis; SU student Ariel Weintraub, who was MariAnne’s Florence roommate; and another SU student, Maureen Canavan. Afterward, those gathered attended a reception at which the McDonalds spoke with many of their daughter’s Florence friends; some of her artwork was on display at the reception. On Wednesday, the McDonalds met with Weintraub and the host family, and visited their home. The McDonald family’s preparations for a funeral service and plans for a campus memorial service are pending. In memory of MariAnne McDonald, SU will purchase an olive tree to be planted, with a plaque, in the gardens outside the Studio Arts building of the Florence center; the tree and plaque are funded by the Chancellor’s Office, the Vice Chancellor’s Office, the Office of Undergraduate Studies, the Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA), the Division of Student Affairs, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts. In addition, the end-of-the-semester art show and theatrical performance in Florence are being dedicated to McDonald. Students, faculty and staff in SU’s London center are circulating a condolence book, to be signed by MariAnne’s friends there. It is expected to be presented to her family at the memorial service in Syracuse.
The SU flag, outside Hendricks Chapel on the Quad of the Syracuse campus, was lowered to half staff Tuesday and will remain there through the weekend. The University is offering counseling services to all those on the Syracuse campus and at the DIPA overseas centers who knew McDonald. In Syracuse, counsel is available through the Counseling Center (443-4715) and the Hendricks Chapel Dean’s Office (443-2901).