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A Guiding Light: Friends, Family, and Faculty Remember Daniel Gallagher ’00

by Janelle Hill Sep 11, 2021

Daniel Gallagher was, in a word, determined.

The 2000 accounting graduate had dreamed of working on Wall Street since childhood. Just months after receiving his diploma from DeSales, the New Jersey native with the curly red hair and signature smile made his dream a reality, accepting a position with Cantor Fitzgerald on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center.

“Dan was one of those unforgettable students,” said Professor Sue McGorry, Ph.D., who taught Gallagher in her very first marketing class at DeSales. “Even though he sat way in the back of the classroom, it was very easy to pick him out of a crowd. I’d always see Dan peering out from behind his classmates affirming everything I said with his bright red curls bobbing up and down.”  

Daniel Gallagher

A little more than a year after landing his dream job, Gallagher was one of the nearly 3,000 people killed on September 11th. To mark the 20th anniversary of that fateful day, family, friends, faculty, and staff gathered to remember Gallagher and re-dedicate a conference room named in his honor.

Donovan Quill ’00, Gallagher’s friend and roommate at DeSales, remembered him as the epitome of a good guy and someone who always brought people together.  

“He was always there with a joke, a smile, a weird noise, something to break the ice and tension to make you laugh,” Quill said. “When I look at him, he was really a guiding light to a lot of us and he still is. It’s fitting that there’s a room dedicated to him in a place that he loved, in a community he brought together and continues to bring together year in and year out. No matter how far we are away, no matter how long it’s been, we know we’re always going to be there for Dan.”  

The Daniel Gallagher ’00 Memorial Conference Room is located on the second floor of the Gambet Center. In honor of the re-dedication, a new sign has been installed and the room will be home to 9/11 artifacts donated by the Gallagher family, including a miniature version of the Tear Drop Memorial, a copy of the New York Times aluminum plate used to print Gallagher’s page, and a piece of World Trade Center steel.

Father Kevin Nadolski, OSFS, Ph.D., vice president for mission, blessed the room and offered a special prayer for Gallagher’s siblings and friends, who then dipped their hands in holy water and made the sign of the cross throughout the room and on the new sign.

Gallagher was just 23 years old at the time of his death. But his legacy and impact can still be felt across campus each and every day. His family and friends honored him with both the conference room and a memorial scholarship fund, which since 2007, has helped seven students in a variety of majors continue their education at DeSales.

Gallagher’s brother, Sean, thanked the University and reflected on the kinship and close bond that alumni have with one another.

“That’s what I think about when I think about DeSales—a very close-knit community,” he said. “I think that’s one of the reasons why the loss of my brother on 9/11 has such an impact here. My family, from the deepest parts of our heart, we are thankful to the DeSales community for continuing to remember our brother.”

WFMZ's Bo Koltnow also reported on the re-dedication; watch his full report here.