Editorial: A decade after Donnie Farrell’s death remains unsolved, we owe it to him to remember

Donald "Donnie" Farrell - Photo courtesy of The Donnie Project

Who was Donnie Farrell?

A friend. A son. A lacrosse teammate. A student.

He was also a sophomore at our university.

Ten years ago, he was walking with some friends near Triad Apartments on Rowan’s campus when he got into an altercation. A few men offered to sell him “Skittles,” but the situation escalated. After two blows to the head, a still unidentified man kicked him to the ground, stole his wallet and phone, and fled. Donnie was revived twice on the way to the hospital, and later died from his injuries.

Donnie Farrell was a victim of homicide. His killers were never found.

Now, 10 years later, where does this leave us?

No one attends Rowan University today who attended while Farrell was here. Today, Farrell would be 29 years old. He’d likely have a job. Possibly a family.

It’s easy to sometimes get caught up in the police jargon. To dissociate from Donnie Farrell because we can’t directly relate to him. But any of us could have been Donnie. He was just like us.

According to his mother, “He was friends with every kind of student. He was friends with the nerdy kids. He was friends with the sporty kids. He was friends with the outsiders. He just always went out of his way to make everyone feel included.”

All of us encounter difficulties: a failed exam, a fight with a friend, a crappy roommate or a bad day. We nearly get into car accidents. We have family members with cancer.

While each of these situations may be unfair, Donnie’s story is particularly tragic. He lost his life while his killers live on, without conviction.

Despite the tragedy, few things commemorate Farrell on Rowan’s campus: a small memorial near Triad Apartments, the club lax team’s annual “Lax for Donnie,” a scholarship in Donnie’s name, a journalistic look into his life completed by some students.

Above all, there is seldom any indication his killers are still out there.

We owe it to Donnie to remember. To remember who he was and commemorate his death. To realize he was like us. We owe it to him to remember.

More information about the case can be found here.

For questions/comments about this editorial, email editor@thewhitonline.com.