‘The brightest light in any room’: Colleagues, professors and friends remember Gianna DeVeitro

‘The most eminent quality of Gianna’s is that she was fearless’

This weekend, Gianna DeVeitro tragically lost her fight against Leukemia. A graduate of the school of communication and information, she was an active part of campus life. She served two seasons as a manager of the Scarlet Knights Women’s basketball team helping with the day-to-day behind the scenes operation of the program.  Gianna was also a dedicated Tab reporter, breaking the story of the Targum’s partially successful 2016 referendum.

In a statement by the Scarlet Knights, Women’s basketball head coach C. Vivian Stringer said: “She was so special to me and our program. Gianna was a brilliant young person who had all the world in front of her. Throughout her illness, she always managed a smile and showed so much strength and courage beyond what anyone could imagine. I am grateful for the time we managed to spend together. Our thoughts are with Gianna’s family and friends.

We asked those who knew her to pay their respects to her and her time at Rutgers.


Steven Miller, Director of undergraduate studies in Journalism

Mark Twain once wrote that he came into this world with Halley’s Comet and, eventually he would go out with it.   There are only a few people who cross our own lives’ sky like a Comet and Gianna DeVeitro was one of them.  She was the brightest light in any room who danced by like a blur.  She was a sensational person of whom everyone took notice.  Like a comet, Gianna was a ball of fire who could do anything she wanted and touch all who saw her.  In my introductory class, my students flocked to her because of her patience and knowledge of the material.  As a Manager of the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball Team, she became a confidante of the players and coaching staff.  At her internship at Mount Sinai Hospitals Children’s Television Network, she dazzled the kids with her spirit, laughter, and warm heart.   It was if you knew her from minute one and she made you feel that welcome.

However, like Halley’s Comet, Gianna was just a quick flash across our horizon for us to see, watch, and hold.  But, like the celestial occurrence, she is indelibly etched into our minds, souls, and hearts and all of us are better for it.

Authors as good as Twain have always been hard to find.

Just like Gianna.

Karen Ruiz, The Tab Rutgers editor 2015/16

I got to know Gianna through JMS and through our mutual friends our senior year. When I first met her I could immediately tell she had such a strong spirit, one of those people who were always full of life and had the confidence and enthusiasm to take on anything.

I’m so grateful to have known Gianna. I will never forget the fun we had senior year, taking on spring breakers in Miami, bonding over what we did in The Tab, and all our nights out. She was always down for anything.

She was one of those people everyone knew because she was so outgoing and could befriend anyone, any age.

I remember being so impressed with how involved she was on campus and how she still managed to make the most of our last year despite having to balance working, interning, RU athletics, and just about everything else.

It hurts to see such a talented person go because I know she would’ve smashed it.

I can’t believe just a year ago we graduated and now you’re gone. You had such an admirable attitude that I will never forget and I know you fought hard til the very end. Rest in peace beautiful.

Mary McGowan

Gianna and I got to know each other well because we had so many Journalism classes together, we were Teacher’s Assistants together, and we had so many mutual friends. I’m so, so grateful that our paths consistently crossed because she was one of the best people I met at Rutgers.

Gianna was friends with everyone. She included everyone, and everyone felt comfortable around her. Anytime she went out — whether it be a night out on College Ave or to a Rutgers networking event — she invited anyone who wanted to come. From working several Rutgers jobs (Women’s Basketball Team, The Tab, RU Rec), she was always busy, always working toward her career and degree, but she always was happy about doing so. I really never heard her complain about her demanding schedule and busy lifestyle. She managed it all like a pro and excelled socially, academically, and professionally.

The most eminent quality of Gianna’s is that she was fearless. She did everything she could for her future without second guessing herself, whether it be going on a last-minute interview, cold calling a professional to network, reporting a major controversial breaking news story on campus — she did it without hesitating or doubting herself. Even being diagnosed with Leukemia, she went right to battle without any complaints. I will always be amazed at her life attitude, and I think we should all adopt it.

Amber Callahan, The Tab Rutgers editor 2016/17

Gianna was without a doubt one of the kindest, most genuine girls I have ever had the pleasure to meet. And although I only knew her for a short time, I can’t remember a time where she wasn’t smiling, laughing, or brightening up everyone’s day. She was an amazing addition to our Tab team, and she will surely be missed.

Chisa Egbelu

I used to see Gianna everywhere on campus and it wasn’t long until we started regularly saying hello. Not to sound too cliché, but her outgoing spirit literally made my life better. One of my fondest memories of Gianna was an aimless night on college ave; one of those nights where I had somehow found myself alone, defeated, and ready to call it quits. But then I ran into Gianna and the whole evening changed. At the time we were just ‘say hey when we see each other’ friends but, despite that, she extended her entire outing to me. She invited me to where she was going, made me laugh, introduced me to her friends, made me comfortable and vouched for me when we got to the ever-scary ‘who do you know here’ guy at the door. I remember this evening so well because I couldn’t believe how she single-handedly 180’d my entire night with her outgoing spirit and generosity. After that, Gianna was the certified homie. To me, she was ‘cool’ personified. And consequently, a person I looked up to. It’s still hard for me to believe we’re doing this right now. For some reason, I honestly never believed this would become a reality, but I’m just so grateful that Gianna decided to invite me into her world and grateful that I was able to experience her personality, kindness, and free spirit.

Gabi Milian, The Tab Rutgers editor 2015/16

It’s very shocking knowing that one of my peers has passed. I didn’t know her very well, but we had a lot of the same interests and our paths always crossed during our time at Rutgers. Even though we were not close it was always nice catching up with her on whatever she was doing, and she was always very pleasant to have around

Even if Gianna wasn’t writing a piece she came to meetings more regularly than most and was always willing to bounce ideas around with the team.

Rutgers University