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Former Student Killed in Bike Accident

Corinne S. Crawford '01 was struck by car while sitting at intersection

By Malcom A. Glenn, Crimson Staff Writer

Corinne S. Crawford '01, a Berkeley doctoral student and a member of the school's cycling team, died last week as a result of a head injury sustained when she was struck by a car on June 24.

Crawford, a former Eliot House resident, was sitting on her bicycle while stopped at a crosswalk in Walnut Creek, Calif., when a 74-year-old man lost control of his 2002 Cadillac while driving at about 35 mph. The man crashed his car into Crawford and her friend, fellow rider and Berkeley exchange student Jan Christian Claussen.

Claussen survived the accident, suffering a less-severe head injury.

Crawford was rushed to the emergency room of a nearby hospital at the time of the accident, having suffered irreparable brain damage from blood loss at the scene of the collision.

She was taken off life support on June 26. An investigation regarding the accident is being conducted by local police.

Crawford was described by one former friend, Erin R. Larkspur '02, as having "a lot of zest for life."

"What I remember is her vivacity and her confidence in her ability to form the life she wanted," Larkspur said. "She had a lot to give."

Joseph C. Gfaller ’01, one of Crawford’s blockmates at Harvard, said that despite not keeping in touch with Crawford since college, he was deeply saddened by her death.

“She was an incredibly driven and dedicated person," Gfaller said. “She had an incredible love for classics and for linguistics and languages, and she set the bar extremely high for herself with everything she did and always achieved at a remarkable level.”

A 26-year old native of Burlington, Vt., Crawford was a sixth-year graduate student in Berkeley’s Classics Department. She taught a course in the department, Latin 100, “Republican Prose,” during the spring semester.

Also a strong proponent of women’s rights, Crawford kept a personal blog entitled “Nequitia Mea,” on which she described herself as a “pissy feminist Ph.D. candidate and proud.”

“I was raised to believe that there is some intrinsic value in seeing authority figures who look and sound like oneself,” she wrote in one entry, “and to believe that intangible manifestations of sexism (or racism) are still pernicious and ‘can be blamed,’ so to speak, for discrepancies in performance, etc.”

Crawford was a summa cum laude graduate of the College, receiving both a bachelor's degree in classics and a master's degree in linguistics at the young age of 20. In 2003, she earned a master's degree in Greek from Berkeley, and she was expected to earn a classics Ph.D next year.

Larkspur said that Crawford was "intense about her studies."

"She was intense and intent," she said. "She was writing her undergraduate thesis about the language Lycian, which she had not known about before that year. She was in not over her head, but almost, in writing her thesis. Itwas as much as she could handle—not more, but as much."

At Harvard, Crawford was active within the WHRB radio station, a member of a church choir during the spring of her senior year, a Phi Beta Kappa member and a Hoopes Prize recipient. She also presented the Latin Oration at the Commencement exercises for her graduating class.

“We have inspired each other to reach a little higher in our own studies and lives with our minds newly opened by the opinions and experiences of others,” Crawford said at the 2001 Commencement ceremony.

Larkspur, who with Crawford was a member of the Noteables, a non-audition campus singing group, recalled watching a student production of the play "Wit" with Crawford during their college years, an experience she called "intense."

"It's mostly a one-woman play about an academic who is dying of cancer, and in the end there's a controversy about the character being on life support or if they're supposed to die," Larkspur said. "Corinne was very strongly affected by it, because she was intending to be an academic, like the woman in the play. In a weird way, it reflected her death."

Sanmay Das ’01, who lived in Eliot with Crawford, described her as “a dynamic and lively presence in the house.”

She was active in house events, including an “extraordinary rendition” of “Baby Got Back” with fellow Eliot residents Lisa D. Tobias ’01 and Gabrielle B. Dreyfus ’01 at an Eliot House lip-synching contest, Das said.

"She was a really capable communicator, so I can imagine she was a great teacher," Gfaller said. "It's a terrible loss, and she was certainly primed to make a significant impact in her field. I can imagine she may have already made one, knowing the kind of work she did as an undergraduate."

Crawford is survived by her parents, Geoffrey and Leslie Crawford, and her four siblings, Elliott, Tobias, Jocelyn and Nicholas.

"I don't know whether she ever intended to have a family," Larkspur said. "I do remember once speaking with her saying that being a professional academic, she might very well not get that chance. I don't know what her particular feelings about that were, but that's another chance that's obviously gone."

A memorial service for Crawford in Burlington is scheduled for July 12. Another memorial service on the Berkeley campus is also being planned for the fall semester.

—Staff writer Malcom A. Glenn can be reached at

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