Casey Schulman was a beautiful person, with a smile that brought joy to so many.
Her life was lost tragically in a boating accident that occurred Saturday in Roseau, Dominica, but the Semester at Sea community who knew and loved her remembered her for the life she exuded in a ceremony held on the MV Explorer last night. The memorial service program included remarks from the administrative team, faculty and close friends and a memorial slideshow.
“She was the only person I’ve ever known whose smile could actually light up an entire room,” said Katie Dorset, her SAS roommate and close friend from Virginia. “She was fun-loving, and so cheerful. She never had a bad day on this ship. Someone asked us once what our worst day has been so far, and we both said we didn’t have one. She loved this experience so much.”
As a fourth-year foreign affairs student at the University of Virginia, Schulman was active in her sorority, Alpha Phi, and was looking forward to graduation.
“She immersed herself so fully in different cultures, and looked at this world from their shoes,” said Julia Farnesi, an occupational therapy junior at Western Illinois University and close friend. ”She didn’t just feel sympathetic, she wanted to do something to try to change things.”
In her academic courses on the MV Explorer, Schulman was hard working and devoted, and her friends say she say she never missed a single class. Her favorites subjects included “Information Techonologies and Global Change” with professor James Danziger and “Topics in Social and Cultural Anthroplogy” with professor Leo Chavez.
“She was very good at Spanish and speaking the language just made her world,” Farnesi said. “We would go out and I wouldn’t see her for half the night because she was talking to a local. She was very caring.”
Gordon Stewart, an academic dean from the University of Virginia, worked closely with Schulman in the College of Arts and Sciences, and described her as a friendly, compassionate student who was upbeat and optimistic about her path after graduation.
“Casey radiated happiness and she spoke with clarity about issues that mattered, inside the classroom and beyond,” Stewart said. “Her sparkling eyes, her ready smile, and her always cheerful greeting made Casey a joy to be around. Seeing her always brought a smile.”
On board the MV Explorer, Schulman made the most of each day—eating outside at every meal, no matter the temperature, because she knew she’d never get a better view, Dorset said, or sipping coffee by the window while taking in the sunsets.
She was humble and caring, and was never too busy to help someone else. She was eager to make friends and did so quickly.
“Her being a part of our lives has changed us,” Farnesi said. “She has a little white piece of paper on the wall by her bed with the word ‘thankful’ on it. It’s a simple word with so much meaning. She knew how to be thankful, and we were all thankful for her.”
Schulman also cherished her time with her Semester at Sea friends, spending long hours at sea and in port forming friendships that would last a lifetime.
“I think there’s a message in this, and it’s to be thankful for every moment, every experience,” Farnesi said. “These next few days will probably be the easiest rather than the hardest. The hardest will come on December 7, when we all part ways. But, if Casey brings us back together again in a year of two, then that’s what she wanted, and I’m okay with that.”
Though she left us far too soon, Schulman will be remembered by all for her compassion, her kindness, and her lust for life.
“She lived for twenty-two years, but it was the most resilient twenty-two years anyone could have,” said Sean Saadat, a biology senior at George Mason University and close friend. “She got to travel the world, she found love, she was loved—she did more in those twenty-two years than most people do in eighty.”
Services will be held for Casey from 11:00 a.m., this Saturday, December 8th, at the Roof Terrace Restaurant of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20566. All are welcome.
Compiled by Fall 2012 Communications Coordinator Kelly Lewis.
Photos courtesy Institute for Shipboard Education / Semester at Sea