Friday, February 13, 2009

Saint Mary’s alum dies in New York plane crash

Madeline Loftus

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is mourning the loss of 2006 graduate and former star athlete, Madeline Linn Loftus, who died Thursday in a plane crash.

University officials learned Friday morning that Loftus was one of the 44 passengers aboard Continental Airlines flight 3407, which crashed Thursday evening outside Buffalo, N.Y. News reports confirm everyone onboard was killed, as well as at least one person on the ground.

Loftus, 24, of Parsippany, N.J., was a marketing major who played on the SMU women’s hockey team from 2004 to 2006. Loftus was also instrumental in starting the Cardinal Athletic Council, which represents student athletes and is active in community service projects.

“The Saint Mary’s University community extends its sympathy and its prayers to the Loftus family, as well as to all of the families who lost loved ones in this tragedy,” said President Brother William Mann, FSC.

SMU athletic director Nikki Fennern added, “We are deeply saddened at the news of the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of so many, including one of our own. Madeline was an important part of the university and athletic communities. Our thoughts and prayers now turn to Madeline’s family, friends and teammates as they cope with this sudden loss.”

“Maddy was the first senior to graduate from my program. She will always hold a special place in my heart,” said Terry Mannor, SMU women’s hockey coach. “Everyone who knew her will remember someone full of life and compassion. She was loved by everyone, and will be greatly missed.”

Dr. Thomas Marpe, dean of the SMU School of Business, said he “will miss Maddy for her quick smile and outgoing personality. She was a wonderful student, and her classmates were always eager to work with her on projects. Maddy was enthusiastic about life and especially about women’s hockey.”