Rue ’17 Remembered as Genuine and Adventurous Friend

Whether she was dancing, sending smiley-face text messages to friends, or writing about her travels, Haley A. Rue ’17 took on life with unceasing optimism, friends remembered on Monday.

A native of Tacoma, Washington, and soon-to-be resident of Pforzheimer House, Rue died on Friday while traveling in Germany. She was 19.

Rue, who friends and classmates described as a warm-hearted, adventurous lover of life, died doing what she loved. She was spending the summer traveling through Europe and writing for Let’s Go, a Harvard Student Agencies company that produces travel guides.

“I sat across from my Harvard interviewer at a Starbucks during a winter morning of my senior year and told him that if I could do anything with my life, money not being an object, I would be a nomad,” Rue wrote in a personal description on her blog. “I would not cure anything, discover anything, win anything. I would travel and write.”

Along with her adventurousness, many friends remembered Rue for the positive attitude with which they say she approached life.

“Haley was [like] Harvard in the opening days, when everything is filled with hope and possibility and a vibrant desire to do something noteworthy,” Ariana E. Akbari ’17 wrote in an email. She called Rue her best friend.

Another friend, Akshay Verma ’17, called Rue “the ultimate lover of life.”

“She reminded me countless times to never let life get you down, to enjoy all the little things that we naturally tend not to,” Verma said. “We chatted just a few days ago about how Europe was the perfect place for her and that was where she was happiest.”

Caroline B. Hubbard ’17, who joined The Crimson’s Arts Board with Rue and Verma during the fall of 2013, said her friend had a “magnetic personality” that drew in those around her.

Friends say Rue initially planned on studying economics but later said that she was thinking about concentrating in Visual and Environmental Studies. She worked four or five shifts a week at Anthropologie, a women’s clothing store in Harvard Square.  

“We all grew to know and love Haley,” said department manager Andrea Punko, who added that Rue was a reliable leader from her first week on the job. Punko joked that she and her colleagues loved to call Rue “Michelle Obama” for her sassy, but fun-loving personality.

Nadia L. Urrea ’17, who first met Haley when they bonded over the band “alt-J” on the Class of 2017 Facebook page before freshman year, recalled stopping by Anthropologie to greet Haley on the way to rehearsals.

“She was just one of those people who was always happy and even though she had her full workload at school and then she went to work, she was always ready to spend hours talking to you if that’s what you needed,” Urrea said.

Known for comforting friends in difficult times or sending spontaneous text messages, Rue was, many of her friends said, a uniquely genuine person.


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