Two weeks after a condominium collapsed in Surfside, Florida, Ilan Naibryf, a member of UChicago’s Class of 2022, is confirmed to be among the dead.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to Ilan’s family, friends, and the many who watched news reports that he was missing. We all had hoped that Ilan would be found safe. The news of his passing is incredibly painful,” Provost Ka Yee Lee and Dean Michele Rasmussen wrote in an email to the University community on Friday afternoon.
Naibryf was pursuing a degree in physics with a minor in molecular engineering. He served as president of the Chabad student board this past year, and he was the cofounder and CEO of Stix Financial, a financial technology startup which was a finalist in the 2021 College New Venture Challenge.
Chabad’s rabbi, Yossi Brackman, described Naibryf as energetic, fun-loving, and always smiling. “You were always so happy to see him,” Brackman told The Maroon.
Naibryf had been visiting Surfside with his girlfriend, Deborah Berezdivin, for the funeral of a family friend who died from COVID-19 earlier this year. Berezdivin was also found dead.
The news comes just days after another student in the College, Max Lewis, passed away after he was hit by a stray bullet through the window of a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train. Lewis had just finished his second year in the College and, like Naibryf, was an active member of Chabad.
A memorial service for Naibryf will take place on Friday afternoon at Lakeside Funeral Home in Doral, Florida. UChicago community members are encouraged to submit photos and memories of Naibryf to an online bulletin board, which can be accessed here. A GoFundMe arranged to assist Naibryf’s family in the aftermath of the incident has raised more than $55,000 as of Friday afternoon.
The email noted that UChicago Student Wellness, academic advisers, and religious advisers are available to assist students affected by the loss. Faculty and staff can contact the confidential counseling service Perspectives at (800) 456–6327.
Naibryf is survived by his parents, Ronit and Carlos; his siblings, Tali and Micaela; and many friends and loved ones from the UChicago community and beyond.