In Memoriam: Deborah Berezdivin

The GWSB student was among those killed in the condo building collapse in South Florida.

July 20, 2021

The George Washington University mourns Deborah Berezdivin, a third-year student at GW’s School of Business, who was among those who died in the collapse in late June of the condominium building in Florida.

Ms. Berezdivin, who is from Puerto Rico, was in Surfside, Fla., to attend a funeral, according to the Miami Herald. She was staying with a friend in Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condo building that collapsed June 24, killing at least 97 people.  

M.L. “Cissy” Petty, GW’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said that the university community “grieves together the loss of Deborah.”

“She will be remembered fondly by her peers and professors,” Dr. Petty said. “The university sends her family and friends our prayers for comfort.”

Ms. Berezdivin was raised in the metropolitan area of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, according to the Miami Herald. During that time, she also presided over the Puerto Rico chapter of Young Judaea, a local youth club focused on Jewish leadership, community and values.

Ms. Berezdivin continued her work with Jewish groups once she arrived at GW after transferring from Tulane University, including the Rohr Chabad Jewish Student Center at GW and GW Hillel.

Lizzie Irwin, a senior majoring in political communication, met Ms. Berezdivin at summer camp in 2015. She was a reliable friend and a leader among her friends, Ms. Irwin said, the kind of person who left a positive imprint wherever she went. 

“The person all of her friends would talk about is the person who was like a spark,” she said. “People were just so excited when she was around.”

Ms. Irwin said it’s been heartening to see the GW community come together to remember Ms. Berezdivin and support those who knew her best. 

A post on GW Hillel’s Instagram page described Ms. Berezdivin as “as warm, kind hearted, bubbly and always positive.”

“She always brings out the best in her friends” the post continued. “Deborah is the type of person that would do anything for her loved ones and will always tell you what is right. She is passionate about many things including her family and friends and also shares a huge love for sushi, fashion and her favorite show ‘Sex and the City.’”

Ezra Meyer, a junior majoring in economics and public policy, met Ms. Berezdivin at summer camp and formed a closer friendship with her during a gap year spent in Israel. When she transferred to GW, it was an opportunity to reconnect after a few years apart.

Ms. Berezdivin had a close knit group of friends and a strong sense of community, Mr. Meyer said.

“She had tremendous charisma, she wasn't a shy person,” he said. “She always wanted to involve herself in every activity going on, she always wanted to have a good time.”

The Division for Student Affairs is offering support to those students affected by this devastating loss, and the university Wellbeing Hotline is available to faculty and staff. Counseling and Psychological Services staff in the Colonial Health Center can be reached at 202-994-5300; students who have academic concerns can reach out to their academic advisers; those who are concerned about a member of the GW community can complete a CARE Team Referral form.

Student Life