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Observer Editor Matt Gamber: Declan was always ‘epic’

Matt Gamber | Thursday, October 28, 2010

The entire Notre Dame family was deeply shocked and saddened by the news that 20-year-old Declan Sullivan died Wednesday in a tragic accident.

Those who knew Declan best remember a driven, passionate young man who always had a smile on his face. Declan was a valued contributor to The Observer’s Scene section, and while I didn’t know him as well as some others on staff, I have fond memories of several of the stories he wrote for us. He was never afraid to approach an intimidating interview, and he consistently delivered arts and entertainment articles that demonstrated his enthusiasm for music and film while showcasing the personality loved by those closest to him.

After attending an on-campus performance by The Roots and Mike Posner last spring, for example, Declan wrote a colorful review that expressed his satisfaction with the concert. Though we had to remove a certain adverb that preceded “epic” before sending the article to print, we still get a great laugh here in the office when we remember Declan’s “creative” writing skills.

As a film student, Declan found interesting angles and presented unique insights in his stories, truly making each assignment his own. He secured interviews with rapper Shwayze and comedians Mike Birbiglia and Michael Ian Black, further demonstrating his commitment to the newspaper and his ability to connect with others. Declan was close with several members of The Observer staff, and he struck the perfect balance between being laid-back but excited to lay the groundwork to take on those tougher stories.

Our editorial board had already gathered Wednesday before we heard Declan’s name, and we were together when we heard the shocking news. The Observer is a tight knit organization, and Declan was a part of our family here at the paper. As we worked to speak to those who knew Declan and to tell the community about his life, we couldn’t forget that we were writing about one of our own. He was in the office earlier in the day Wednesday, to turn in a routine reimbursement form. It still seems unreal that we will not get any more “epic” reviews from Declan.

We join Declan’s family and friends and the entire Notre Dame community in prayer and remembrance as we honor Declan and all of his contributions, not only to The Observer, but also to the University and to everyone he touched.