Lynn University Students Remain Missing

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Lynn University is one of the smallest colleges in Florida, a private school founded in 1962 as Marymount College, a Catholic college.

Over the years, the school transitioned from a private religious institution into a private secular college, becoming the College of Boca Raton for a time before acquiring university status and changing its name in 1991 to Lynn University in honor of a Eugene M. Lynn, a philanthropist. Lynn and his wife were early backers of Marymount College; he died in 1999.

Diverse, Global Outlook

HaitiToday, Lynn has 2400 undergraduate and 600 graduate students enrolled, with an additional 500 students taking continual education classes. Though small, the college is very much diverse, with an international student body and a global view on education.

It is that global view which sent twelve students and two faculty members to Port-au-Prince recently, to work with Food for the Poor, a Christian organization whose mission is to “improve the health, economic, social and spiritual conditions of the men, women and children we serve.”

Haiti Hotel Collapses

In this case, the Lynn team was staying at the 4-star Hotel Montana in the capitol city while working with Food for the Poor during the day. According to Fox News, that hotel had hundreds of guests staying there when the earthquake struck. More than 200 hotel guests have been reported missing including the Lynn students and their professors.

With communication cut and other services at a premium, news coming out of Haiti has been sketchy, if not inaccurate. Indeed, early reports indicating that the Lynn team was safe were later found to be wrong. The university has been keeping family members and friends informed of these developments since the quake struck through website alerts.

Rescue Team Sent

Yesterday, the university said that it had sent a private rescue team with a helicopter to nearby Dominican Republic where they later took off for Haiti. Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola, but the quake’s impact was felt mostly in Haiti.

Lynn issued a press release naming the twelve student and two faculty members in Haiti. The students are:

  • Thomas Schloemer | Fox Point, WI (reported safe 1/13)
  • Nikki Fantauzzi | Simsbury, CT (reported safe 1/13)
  • Daniela Montealegre | Managua, Nicaragua (reported safe 1/13)
  • Julie Prudhomme | East Greenwich, RI (reported safe 1/13)
  • Michael DeMatteo | Southlake, TX (reported safe 1/13)
  • Melissa Elliott | Hartland, WI (reported safe 1/14)
  • Lindsay Doran | Clearwater, FL (reported safe 1/13)
  • Paul Tyska | Wilmette, IL (reported safe 1/13)
  • Stephanie Crispinelli | Katonah, NY
  • Christine Gianacaci | Hopewell, NJ
  • Courtney Hayes | Boca Raton, FL
  • Britney Gengel | Rutland, MA

Lynn University faculty leading the trip:

  • Patrick Hartwick, Ed.D., dean of the Ross College of Education
  • Richard Bruno, MD, assistant professor, College of Liberal Education

SayCampusLife will offer an update once the information about the Lynn team is known.

Meanwhile, we are also following another report involving missing college students from Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) in Virginia. As of last night, their whereabouts had yet to be confirmed.

Update #3 (@0425 | 01.15.2010) — Now for some distressing news: Lynn’s president, Kevin M. Ross, reported late last night that three of the students previously reported as being found are still missing. Their whereabouts remain unknown. These students are Stephanie Crispinelli, Courtney Hayes, and Britney Gengel. In addition, Christine Gianacaci and the two faculty members, Patrick Hartwick and Richard Bruno, remain missing.

Update #2 (@1030 | 01.14.2010) — Four more students have been identified and found alive in Haiti. One student and the two faculty members remain missing.

Update #1 (@0535 | 01.14.2010) — According to the university, seven of the twelve Lynn students have reported in to the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince with five students and the two faculty members still unaccounted for.

Map Credit: Central Intelligence Agency

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Categories: Campus News