200 Days in the Life of the College

Monday, January 31

One of the family, taken too early

By John Wulf ’12

There are many moments and people to remember when you are part of the Hamilton community: good days, long nights, friends and professors. And then there’s a day like today — a day when the campus comes together to celebrate the life of Alex Paganelli ’12, a day that those in attendance will never forget.

“Pags,” a chemistry major and beloved member of the lacrosse team, died over winter break from injuries sustained in a one-car accident near his home in Dover, Mass. Today, his impact in his short time on the Hill is evidenced by the students, teachers and athletes who pack the Chapel.

The service includes a letter from his parents read by President Joan Hinde Stewart, a Bible verse recited by his teammate Paul Citarella ’12 and a moving prayer delivered by Father John Croghan, who pleads with the emotional crowd not just to remember his passing as a tragedy, but to learn from his life and to realize how fortunate we are to have Hamilton in our own lives. “Sometimes around here we don’t talk about love much,” Croghan says, “and that’s a shame. But it’s at times like this when we can learn, because as bad as this loss is, may it teach us something — that each person you know, each person on this Hill, they have been given to us to learn from. They’re family members.… Let us love them like we love Alex.”

One of those family members is Paganelli’s best friend, Garrett Akie ’12. A friend and lacrosse teammate since elementary school, Akie shares laughs with the audience explaining Paganelli’s “eclectic” personality and describing him as a musical composer, “a competitor in everything he did, including video games,” and, “the type of kid who wore his pet lizard to graduation.”

At the service’s end, members of the men’s lacrosse team hand out shirts. On the front reads “Hamilton,” on the back Paganelli’s number 9. With the shirt come instructions: Wear it to every men’s home game to remember and honor a great teammate, a great friend and a member of the Hamilton family.