As he looked out at the thousands of students set to graduate from Northeastern University on Friday, President Joseph E. Aoun pointed out empty seats where two members of the Northeastern community should’ve been.
“Your classmates Victoria Mcgrath and Priscilla Perez Torres earned their degrees just like each one of you,” he said. “Today their families will receive their diplomas.”
McGrath and Torres were killed in March during a spring break trip in Dubai. They were on their way to Bali, and the Ferrari they were riding in crashed into a pole. Two men, including the driver of the Ferrari, were also killed.
McGrath was a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings. Three years ago, she stood at the finish line when two bombs exploded and sent shrapnel into her leg. She was saved by early responders, who tied a tourniquet around her leg and carried her to safety.
After her death, her parents Jill and James McGrath asked Boston to remember her “rare empathy.”
“There are any number of ways that one can respond to tragedy, and the majority of the options can be destructive,’’ they said in a statement. “What Victoria taught all of us was how, against the odds, to respond with determination, humility, and not a single note of bitterness.’’
As the crowd sat in silence on Friday, Aoun asked them to remember their classmates.
“Victoria and Priscilla are with us in spirit,” he said. “They will always remain members of the Northeastern family.”