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Carey W. Gabay ’94, a former president of Harvard's Undergraduate Council, died last Wednesday, after he was caught in the crossfire of a shooting in New York City the previous week. He was 43.
Gabay was attending a celebration before the West Indian American Day Parade in Brooklyn, N.Y., when the shooting began, according to The New York Times. He was declared brain-dead last Tuesday night and taken off a respirator.
Gabay’s classmates and co-representatives on the UC remember him as a dedicated and committed leader. Gabay’s devotion to public service did not end after his graduation—at the time of his death, Gabay worked as an administrative lawyer and aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He graduated from the College and also attended Harvard Law School.
During his time at Harvard, Gabay served as UC president at one of the most diverse periods the Council had seen. When Gabay took office, he did so as one of the Council's first top African-American leaders.
This came at a time when diversity at the College was increasingly under scrutiny, with some describing Harvard’s campus as “hostile to minorities.”
Throughout his tenure as president of the College student body, Gabay was continuously praised by classmates for his leadership and passion. In a letter to The Crimson’s editors in 1994, then-UC vice president Joshua D. Liston ’95 wrote that Gabay’s “tireless leadership and commitment to the student body was inspiring for all of us,” arguing that Gabay presented every campus issue and differing views with “precision and clarity.”
Another letter to the editor in 1994, from Jonathan K. Hsu ’94, called Gabay a “tireless worker,” a “true leader,” and a “true gentleman.”
Both Hsu and Liston noted in their letters to the editor that Gabay’s work rarely received the recognition and respect it merited.
“Carey Gabay was a… great student leader, a wonderful American story, but above all, he was a friend to many,” said another UC alumnus, Michael P. Beys ’94. “He had all the qualities of leadership, intelligence, [and] a love [for] public service.”
Melissa Garza ’94, who ran against Gabay in a UC presidential election, called him a “beautiful person” with a clear-cut vision for the Council.
“He was very engaging and persuasive,” she added.
“Carey stood out from everyone else… with his ability to like and be liked,” Beys added. “He didn’t have a bad bone in his body.”
A funeral service for Gabay is planned for Saturday in Brooklyn.
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