By Katie Zeck
Many may have described Mike Pascrell as a member of Rider’s men’s lacrosse team, a former SGA cabinet member, a brother of Delta Sigma Pi or a former member of Rider’s Model U.N. team. However, more would call him a loyal friend, a supportive brother, a charismatic leader and a guy with a big heart.
Pascrell, 21, a former Rider student who was not enrolled this semester, died on March 30 after being hit by a car around 10:15 p.m. the night before on Interstate 80 in his hometown of Wayne, N.J.
Pascrell was reportedly walking along the eastbound ramp onto Interstate 80 — not on the shoulder — on the night of March 29 when an unidentified driver in a 2012 Subaru struck him, according to State Police Lt. Steven Jones.
Pascrell was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital by Wayne First Aid and pronounced dead a few hours later at 12:35 a.m. The driver sustained minor facial injuries and was also taken to St. Joseph’s. Police said the driver was not was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. No charges have been filed, but the case is still under investigation, according to Jones.
A toxicology test will be performed as part of Pascrell’s autopsy to determine whether he had any drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the accident.
Pascrell was a cousin of U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-Paterson.
Pascrell, who was studying international business management, was a very involved and well-known member of the Rider community when he was enrolled. His passing left an impact on many students.
“Meeting Mike freshman year made for fantastic memories that now, as a junior, I have always cherished and will continue to do so,” said junior Kim Leder. “When the class of 2014 walks at graduation next spring, there won’t be one student who doesn’t have Mike on their minds, wishing he was there beside us, congratulating, cracking jokes and shedding a tear himself.”
During his time at Rider, Pascrell was an active member of the co-ed business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi (Beta Xi chapter). The brothers of the fraternity were greatly affected by Pascrell’s sudden death and, together, have organized a fundraiser for his family to help cover funeral costs, tuition loans and other expenses. The group set a goal of $10,000 and has already raised more than $6,000 in less than a week (to donate, visit gofundme.com/2goes0).
Pascrell graduated from Wayne Valley High School and was a member of the football and track teams for all four years. In his obituary, Pascrell’s family remembers him as someone who always put himself before others.
“He was a people pleaser who had a light-hearted sense of humor and was quick with a joke,” the obituary reads. “He had a comforting way in which he could engage in conversation with his peers just as easily as someone many years his senior.”
Reflecting on Mike Pascrell
“I’ve known Mike since my freshman year here at Rider. We became very close my sophomore year into junior year, and I could talk to him from the second I woke up until the moment I fell asleep. He never failed to put a smile on my face and was always willing to help out any way he could. I would do anything to just be able to say goodbye to such an amazing person, but he had a heart so big, God wouldn’t let it live. Rest easy, Mike. You won’t be forgotten.”
— Junior secondary education major Morgan Taylor
“Mike and I pledged Delta Sigma Pi together in the fall of 2011. We created so many memories and during this time we became inseparable. He was the brother I never had. I shared my whole life with him and he shared his life experiences with me as well. He was always there for me and always knew what to say to cheer me up. Whether we were at the diner grabbing a late meal or driving around in my car listening to Biggie, Mike was always cracking jokes and making the best out of whatever we were doing. His hugs, laugh, smile and witty jokes will be missed so much. I am forever grateful to have had Mike in my life and will always remember him.” — Junior human resources major Kayla Simmons
“I remember the couple of classes we had together; he was always so funny and kept the class laughing. I never saw him sad or upset. He always had a huge smile on his face and was extremely outgoing. I am still in shock that such a beautiful life was taken so soon, but I know that I was not the only life that he was able to grace with his presence. ” — Junior advertising major Lark Stagnitto
“There really are no words to describe how not only I, but the rest of the student body here at Rider and those beyond feel about the tragic unforeseen loss of Mike Pascrell. Mike was an amazing young man who everyone knew because of his smile, personality and dedicated drive to succeed in life. Not a day went by when being around him didn’t create a memory. Rider won’t be the same without Mike around campus; we all know that the atmosphere here is different now that he is gone. He was an amazing young man who was taken before his time.” — Junior English major Kim Leder
“Mike was always a guy who lived his life to the fullest. He worked hard in everything he did and then he kept working even harder to stay the best. Whether it was football, track or schoolwork, he gave 200%. Mike was also open to try new things and he wasn’t afraid of failing, because when he fell, he’d keep getting back up. My favorite memory of Mike was calling his game-winning defensive tip when he played football for the Wayne Valley HS Indians. I remember him jumping up and down on the field in excitement as I was shouting into the microphone, and that’s how I will always remember Mike’s life — always full of dedication, excitement and passion for the people he held dearly and the hobbies that he worked so hard at.” — Junior secondary education major Sean Feddema
“From the moment Mike got into the fraternity, he gave his heart and soul into everything he did and went to great lengths to support a friend or brother in need. Mike contributed every way he could to the organization by taking on positions and serving on committees. There was nothing Mike was not willing to do to better the organization. Mike was kind, generous, smart and helpful and could put a smile on anyone’s face. I want everyone to understand how kindhearted Mike was and realize that Rider has suffered a great loss. I will forever remember the happy time with Mike, and how he always knew what to say to make me laugh,” — Junior marketing major Emily Weston, President of Delta Sigma Pi