Rollins Chapel was filled to capacity as more than 500 Dartmouth community members gathered to celebrate the life of Blaine Steinberg ’15. The 20-year-old history major fell ill and died of a heart attack at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on March 7.
There was much laughter, and there were many tears, as family members and friends recounted stories about the vivacious Wynnewood, Pa., native. Steinberg was remembered for her devotion to friends and family, her love of sports, her “relentlessly” positive attitude, and her infectious laugh.
Rabbi Edward Boraz welcomed Steinberg’s friends and family to Rollins Chapel, and President Phil Hanlon ’77 spoke next. He solemnly noted that “for the second time in what’s been a long cold winter, we find ourselves gathered to say goodbye, truly goodbye, to a Dartmouth student.” (Torin Tucker ’15 died on February 5 from a rare heart anomaly while competing for the College in a cross country skiing event).
“In such a time as this, we can seek comfort in the wise words of those who have come before. The words of Helen Keller, who said, ‘What we have once enjoyed we can never lose.’ And the words of John Sloan Dickey, who promised us that in the Dartmouth fellowship, there is no parting. These words remind us that Blaine will forever be a part of our Dartmouth family.”
A number of Steinberg’s friends spoke, including Rabbi Moshe Gray of Chabad at Dartmouth, who recalled watching Steinberg do her “CrossFit WOD, workout of the day” on the shores of the Sea of Galilee during her Birthright trip to Israel last winter.
Steinberg’s family—mother Jill, father Sid, and sister Leigh, who is a member of Dartmouth’s incoming Class of 2018—spoke of the joy that the oldest daughter took in being a member of the Dartmouth family. They spoke of their appreciation for the outpouring of support they have received. Her mother spoke of the comfort they have taken from the posts Blaine’s Dartmouth friends have made to the Facebook page called “A Book for Blaine.”
“Blaine loved Dartmouth. She loved the beautiful, woodsy setting here, and she loved all of you, the people who make this place so special,” said Jill Steinberg, naming Blaine’s wide circle of friends, including her Kappa Kappa Gamma sisters, her roommates and classmates, the Dartmouth lacrosse team (of which she was a member her first year), her Dartmouth Outing Club “trippees,” her friends from Russell Sage residence hall, her Birthright Israel trip-mates, her Dartmouth Chabad and Hillel friends, her radio station friends, the people with whom she worked in Athletics as a fundraising intern, the women’s soccer team, the baseball team, the hockey team, the football team, and the ski team.
“We believe that something good has to come out of this tragedy, and we want Blaine’s spirit to always be remembered,” Jill Steinberg said, adding that she hoped others would be inspired by Blaine’s attributes. “Be positive, be happy, have fun, laugh, smile, sing at the top of your lungs, connect with other people, be comfortable with who you are, be a good friend, go with the flow, don’t sweat the small stuff, work out, enjoy sports, follow your passions, and most of all, live life to its fullest.”
“I will end with a quote from that famous Dartmouth alumnus, Dr. Seuss. ‘Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.’”
Sid Steinberg and daughter Leigh thanked those assembled for the love they’ve shown to the family and for “loving Blaine,” as Leigh said. “You, her Dartmouth family, you got her,” Sid Steinberg said. “Her goofiness. Her positive attitude. Her willingness to stand up for herself. Here amid the granite of New Hampshire she was not just appreciated, but she was loved for who she was.”
Afterward, attendees gathered in the center of the Green, holding lit candles in Steinberg’s memory while the Dartmouth Aires sang Brown-Eyed Girl. Many then attended a reception in Collis Common Ground, hosted by Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson, where rubber bracelets reading “Live Like Blaine” were distributed.
On Sunday, April 6, Dartmouth Broadcasting, in conjunction with Dartmouth’s Department of Athletics and Recreation, will host a “radiothon” in Steinberg’s honor from noon to 4 p.m. during the Dartmouth baseball team’s doubleheader with the University of Pennsylvania. A 30-minute original broadcast, featuring interviews with some of Steinberg’s friends, including Dartmouth Broadcasting general manager Kathryn MacNaughton ’15, will be aired between the two games on 99.3 FM (99 Rock). The entire broadcast will also be available online from 12 to 4 p.m. at iHeartRadio.