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Dartmouth graduate in town for pandemic-postponed graduation dies near campus bridge

David Gallagher, 24, who was found with "severe injuries" early Sunday, died a day after his commencement ceremony at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Baker-Berry Library on the campus of Dartmouth College
Baker-Berry Library on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., on Oct. 17.Bing Guan / Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Dartmouth College graduate died one day after his pandemic-postponed graduation ceremony, having been discovered hurt under a bridge near campus, police said. 

David Gallagher, 24, was in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his family to celebrate his Class of 2020 commencement ceremony on Saturday, which was delayed for two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Hanover police and the school said.

But what was meant to be a celebratory weekend turned into tragedy after Gallagher was found with "severe injuries" on a rocky embankment under the Ledyard Bridge next to campus.

Authorities got a call about a person who was hurt around 1:45 a.m. Sunday at the bridge at West Wheelock Street in Hanover, the Hanover police and fire departments said in a joint news release.

A Dartmouth Department of Safety and Security pontoon boat transported him to an awaiting ambulance. He was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center for treatment but succumbed to his wounds, officials said.

Hanover police are investigated the cause of death.

Diana Lawrence, a spokesperson for the school, said in a statement: "The Dartmouth community is deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy.

"President Hanlon has been in touch with the parents of David Gallagher to share his condolences on their profound loss," she added.

The commencement ceremony took place Saturday at 10:30 a.m. as part of the graduation weekend festivities, which featured events throughout the day into the evening, according to a website for the events.

The Dartmouth men’s lacrosse team paid tribute to Gallagher, tweeting, “It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of our Dartmouth men’s lacrosse brother.”

The team said that Gallagher was from the West Chester area of Philadelphia and that he "brought many great characteristics and values to the program."

"He was tough, worked hard on the field and in the classroom, had high character and a positive attitude," the team said. "Dave lived his life with a giant smile that lit up the room. His memory is in our hearts forever."