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University Of Miami Student Who Graduated Summa Cum Laude Dies Day After Graduation


Elizabeth ‘Ellie’ Goldenberg, a 22-year-old University of Miami musical theater student, died in an airboat crash on Saturday, May 13, just one day after graduating at the top of her class.

Goldenberg, of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts on Friday, May 12, from the University of Miami – Florida.

According to the Miami Herald, Goldenberg and her family went on an airboat tour of the Florida Everglades to celebrate Elizabeth’s graduation.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the boat crashed at around 11:45 A.M. about 12 miles west of Krome Avenue in Miami, Florida’s Everglades Wildlife Management Area. Ellie, who was tossed from the boat during the crash, died from the injuries she sustained.

Ellie’s parents Renee and David Goldenberg, her sister Dana, and the airboat driver Steven George Gagne, 52, were also ejected from the boat during the crash. Ellie’s parents and Gagne were reportedly uninjured, however Dana sustained minor injuries and was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Via Miami Herald:

The likely driver of the airboat, Steven George Gagne, 52, was tossed overboard as well, though he wasn’t injured, said a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. FWCC didn’t name Gagne as the operator, but according to the state agency, he was the only person on the boat who is not a family member. The FWCC released no other information on Gagne.

Goldenberg’s sister Dana Goldenberg, 20, was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center with minor injuries. Their parents, Renee Flaxx-Goldenberg and David Goldenberg, both 54, were also along for the ride, but not injured.

In its statement on the accident, the FWCC did not say what company operated the airboat or what caused the accident.

FWCC spokesperson Robert Klepper said that he is “unable to state whether or not this boating incident investigation will result in any charges” at this time.

COED Writer
A New Jersey native & Rutgers University graduate who firmly believes it's better to be lucky than good. My goal in life is to one day write a Batman screenplay. You can probably find me somewhere cooking either too little or too much pasta. contact me -