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Community reflects on life of Travis McElmurry

| Friday, March 24, 2017

Travis McElmurry wanted to do good in the world with his law degree, first-year law student Michael Benson said.

“He was an older student … and pretty quiet or reserved, and I think because of that, not a lot of students or professors at the law school had the pleasure of getting to know Travis,” he said in an email. “That is a shame because he was really down to Earth and easy to talk to. He was a dual JD/MBA student and wanted to use his law degree and business background to help entrepreneurs succeed. He loved his dog.”

McElmurry was a first-year law student who was dual-enrolled at the business school. He died March 12 at the age of 30 in his off-campus residence.

First-year law student Yaya Chang said McElmurry was a laid-back classmate and friend.

“He was my contracts classmate,” she said. “I first met him because we would have to get assigned seats, and I wanted to sit next to a couple buddies of mine. … Travis was a very easygoing guy. He just moved down and that’s how we met.”

Benson said he became friends with Travis on the first day of classes during fall semester and the two bonded over common interests.

“We were all brand new to the law school and no one knew each other so it was common to strike up conversation with those around you before or after class,” he said. “We started talking then and since we both lived off campus we would walk back to the student parking lot together and talk about law school, post-graduation plans, et cetera. We would often see each other at events like football games or the law school’s Fall Ball.”

First-year law student David Morris, McElmurry’s partner in their legal research class this semester, said McElmurry was meticulous in his work.

“It saddens me that we spent the last two weeks pouring over punctuation and citations and phrasing in our appellate brief together, but he was focused and believed in the quality of his research,” Morris said in an email. “He took pride in finding out information above and beyond the case. He always had a grounded, sound response to any argument from the other side of the case.”

Morris said McElmurry loved listening to legal arguments and frequently passed along ones he found interesting to his classmate.

“He and I shared an interest in listening to Supreme Court oral arguments,” Morris said. “In the weeks before our oral argument, he often sent me links to articles and videos about how to prepare for oral arguments. I enjoyed his partnership, and he was a good man. He was responsive and willing to do whatever it takes for the team.”

Despite being in his first year of law school, McElmurry already had big plans in place for his future, Morris said.

“He had a plan to apply both degrees as an attorney-business partner for start-ups,” he said. “He reasoned that [it would] provide the best value-added to partner early, specifically with students who had business ideas. He spoke about having his own firm. I was impressed by just how much he had figured out at this early point in law school.”

Benson said McElmurry would have been honored by the number of people who showed up to the memorial Mass offered in his memory.

“Even though Travis was quiet and mostly kept to himself people still came out in droves to his memorial service,” he said. “ … Not only was the Basilica filled with 1L students but also 2L and 3L students who hadn’t known Travis at all. Professors, both those who had Travis as a student in class and those who had not had Travis in their classes, attended the memorial. I think it would have meant a lot to Travis to know that people he had never even interacted with at the law school attended his memorial to honor him.”

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About Courtney Becker

Courtney is a senior from New York City majoring in film, television and theater with a minor in journalism, who recently wrapped up her year as Editor-in-Chief. She is a former resident of Pasquerilla West Hall and a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

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