June 17, 2019 | 78° F

Class of 2007 Rutgers alumnus killed in NYC terror attack

Darren Drake, 32 years old, studied political science at the University

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Darren Drake, a member of the Rutgers Class of 2007, died Tuesday during a terror attack in Lower Manhattan. Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Debasish Dutta issued a statement and said Drake was known for his "big heart" and "commitment to the community."

“The perfect son.”

That is how Jimmy Drake, the father of 32-year-old Darren Drake, a victim of the terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, described his son.

Darren Drake, a member of the Rutgers Class of 2007, lived with his parents and ate dinner with his family every night, according to NJ Advance Media.

When their son did not take his seat at the table for dinner at 7 p.m., they knew something was wrong.

The New Milford, New Jersey native worked in New York City, and instead of taking smoke breaks, he would go out for short bike rides, Jimmy Drake said. His son had lap band surgery three years ago and had lost 93 pounds since.

On Tuesday, Darren Drake went for a bike ride between meetings at Moody’s Analytics, where he worked as a project manager.

This is when Darren Drake was struck by the man that drove a Home Depot truck down a busy bicycle path along the Hudson River, killing eight and injuring 11 more.

Department of Political Science Chair Richard Lau said in an email that the department is saddened by the tragic loss of Darren Drake.

"Professors who had him in class remember him as an excellent student who was particularly knowledgeable about New Jersey politics," he said. 

He said that Professor Jane Junn, who now teaches at the University of South California, had Darren Drake for his "junior seminar" class that conducted an exit poll in New Jersey's 7th Congressional District for the 2006 federal elections.

She said the class was a research seminar, and the group designed the exit poll, got certified for human subjects research and conducted the exit poll. They fathered the data at the polling places and entered it "like crazy" on the Eagleton computers, analyzed it, and "called the election."

"We ate lots of pizza and junk food that night and stayed up until after midnight to watch the results," she said. "I remember it was very close, but we called the outcome correctly."

A University spokesperson issued a statement, which said “Rutgers is deeply saddened by the tragic and senseless loss of Darren Drake and we express our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. Darren was an exceptional graduate, a leader in his community, and had a bright future ahead of him.”

Debasish Dutta, the chancellor of Rutgers—New Brunswick, issued a statement to the Rutgers community mourning the loss of the former Rutgers student.

“He was known for his big heart, his commitment to his community, and his passion for learning,” Dutta said in his statement. “Darren (Drake) served as president and vice president on the New Milford Board of Education, where he was respected for his devotion to children and their education as well as for his business skills, intelligence, and friendliness.”

He asked that the community keep Darren Drake in its thoughts and prayers.

“On behalf of the entire Rutgers community, I want to express our heartfelt condolences to Darren’s family and his friends who knew him here at Rutgers,” Dutta said.

Alexandra DeMatos

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