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  The Digital Collegian - Published independently by students at Penn State
[ Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2002 ]

Suarez known for ambition, smile

Collegian Staff Writer

There isn't just one memory of Dave Suarez that comes to mind for his friends -- it's many memories of his smiling face and selflessness that were a constant in his life.

Jeff Tobias, a 1998 graduate of Penn State and one of Suarez's closest friends, said his favorite thing about Dave -- although there was too much to pin down -- was his friend's ambition, enthusiasm and zest for life. Suarez was always positive, no matter what, he added.

Suarez, 24, lost his life while working in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center a year ago today.

He was employed by Deloitte Consulting, and he was in a meeting on the 99th floor of the tower at the time of the attacks.

"He probably accomplished more in his 24 years than most people do in a lifetime," Tobias said.

"Out of anybody I know, he was the one person who was definitely going places."

The 1999 Penn State graduate and Kappa Alpha fraternity member was active in community service and volunteer work. From tutoring high school students to prepare them for college entrance exams to working in soup kitchens, Suarez was a light in many people's lives.

The memory of the industrial-engineering major inspired his friends and family to begin a scholarship fund that benefits a graduating senior at the West Windsor-Plainsboro High School -- the New Jersey high school Suarez graduated from -- and a senior at Penn State involved in the groups he was a part of. Both will be awarded to applicants who have the same values that Suarez was known for.

"He did so much that none of us even knew about it," Tobias said. "He didn't want any recognition for it."

That's the way he was. And his generosity in his own life is being mirrored in his friends and family now that he is gone.

A close friend from their youth, Mike Eskra has maintained a Web site in Suarez's honor and remembrance. The first Dave Suarez Softball Classic was held in July in West Windsor, N.J., and it helped raise more than $7,000 for the Suarez fund.

Tobias said they hope to make the softball tournament a tradition for years to come.

Eskra said as of two weeks ago, about $15,000 has been raised for the scholarship fund.

Although there are many other scholarship efforts, this is one made up of friends and family.

Eskra and Suarez graduated high school together and ended up joining Kappa Alpha fraternity at Penn State. He and Eskra lived together in New York City.

"He was serious when he had to be, but he could switch to have fun at the drop of a dime -- it was a great quality," Eskra said.

Tobias and Suarez met unexpectedly. They both lived in Pollock Halls on the same floor their freshman year. The two grew up in rival school districts, so when they met at their floor meeting freshman year, they had something to talk about.

"It was a big coincidence he became one of my best friends," he said.

High school rivals and all, they ended up both joining Kappa Alpha and living together their senior year.

Another brother of Kappa Alpha and close friend of Suarez echoed the sentiments of his friends.

"All the time I knew him, I knew he'd always be there for me," Mike Ryan, a 2000 Penn State graduate said.

"Even if I hadn't seen him in six months, it didn't matter, I knew he'd be there."

Ryan said no matter what the situation, Suarez did the right thing.

"His character was impeccable," he said.

Any time spent with Suarez was a pleasure, he added.

The scholarship fund has been set up through the Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation, a non-profit foundation associated with Suarez's fraternity, and donations can be sent to: The Dave Suarez Scholarship Fund c\o The KAO Educational Foundation PO BOX 1865 Lexington, VA 24450.

Checks can be made payable to the 'KAO Educational Foundation,' and include 'The Suarez Scholarship Fund' in the memo.

All donations are tax deductible, and the foundation will return a letter indicating that.


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Updated: 2002-9-11  3:00:13   -4
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