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Among the seven commuters who lost their lives following Tuesday’s tragic Amtrak train derailment was Derrick Griffith, 42, who served as the Dean of Student Affairs at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College.

Griffith, who was also a CUNY doctoral candidate, had recently defended his dissertation in urban education and was slated to graduate later this month.

The college confirmed Griffith’s passing earlier today with an official statement posted on the school’s website. A school spokesperson wrote:

It is with a heavy heart that we regret to confirm that Derrick Griffith, Dean of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management for Medgar Evers College, was killed in the horrific train derailment that occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tuesday, May 12, 2015.

Derrick was a pillar in the community. He served the students of Medgar Evers and the greater community with passion and he will be sorely missed. He was a champion for the downtrodden and he encouraged students to pursue education with vigor. During the course of his more than 10 years working in the field of education, Derrick wore a number of hats as he worked to help others look toward a better life.

The community will gather to mourn Griffith’s passing Thursday evening at the college. The vigil is scheduled to begin at 5:30 pm.

“There could not be a finer educator,” Medgar Evers President Rudy Crew said in a statement. “He was an outstanding and very distinguished person who guided many, many students at Medgar Evers since 2011, and finished his Ph.D about a month ago and was really the source of tremendous motivation for all us in one form or another; he did so much for the students.”

According to NYDN, Griffith is survived by his son and mother.

We send our prayers to Griffith’s family as well as the faculty and student body of Medgar Evers College.

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