Recent Georgetown University graduates Mark Keffer (COL ’19), 22, and Maya Robinson (COL ’19), 22, died Oct. 11 from injuries sustained from a flash flood while traveling in Puerto Rico.
The young alumni actively engaged with the campus community while at Georgetown. Keffer graduated with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and art and art history and participated in the peer-to-peer support group Project Lighthouse, according to emails the university sent to the Georgetown community this week. Robinson, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science, was a member of the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union.
Keffer, originally from Houston, Texas, was an exceptional artist, according to Georgetown art professor B.G. Muhn.
“Mark was an unusually and extraordinarily talented student and created pieces with such an innovative vision that I can sincerely say that he was one of the most brilliant, gifted students I have worked with during my past thirty some years teaching at Georgetown,” Muhn wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Robinson, from Concord, Mass., attended high school at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire before coming to Georgetown in 2015.
Robinson was known for her warmth toward peers and professors, according to computer science professor Mark Maloof.
“She was always friendly and smiling,” Maloof wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I saw her on campus a few times in the spring. She always said hello before I could.”
Keffer and Robinson, who were dating, were also members of The Capitol G’s, a Georgetown a capella group, for which Keffer served as musical director and Robinson as business director.
Keffer’s and Robinson’s personalities complemented each other during their work together at the Capitol G’s, according to President Marie Merveilleux du Vignaux.
“His strong and energetic leadership, paired with her calm and thoughtful insights, crafted beautiful music and a tight-knit community here in the Gs,” Merveilleux du Vignaux wrote in an email to The Hoya. “As a group, we feel that their memories remind us of the people we should aspire to be.”
Keffer and Robinson met during New Student Orientation their freshman year at Georgetown in the elevator on their way to sing in the convocation choir and began dating shortly thereafter, according to Merveilleux du Vignaux.
The pair spent significant time together throughout their lives at Georgetown, art history professor Elizabeth Prelinger said.
“Where one was, the other was,” Prelinger said in an interview with The Hoya. “They were inseparable.”
After graduation, Keffer and Robinson both moved to New York City. Robinson began a job at BlackRock, a global investment management corporation, as a portfolio analyst in July, according to her LinkedIn page. Keffer was planning to continue his artistic ventures and hoped to pursue a doctoral degree in a psychology-related field, according to Prelinger.
Computer science professor Jami Montgomery, who interacted with Robinson many times, was impressed by her kind heart and general goodwill, Montgomery wrote in a university email.
“Maya was smart, stubborn and full of tenacity,” Montgomery wrote. “I was truly grateful to know her and am sorry that others will never get to know Maya’s kindness and rich spirit.”
Keffer and Robinson were remembered at a Chaplains’ Tea on Tuesday and in all religious services on campus this week. The university will also host a memorial service in Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart, according to a university email. The time has not yet been announced.
Prelinger will remember Keffer for his oil paintings and distinct eye for art, often depicting scenes of nature in conflict with urbanization and urbanized environments, she said.
“He had things that he needed to say about his observations of the natural world and human existence, but the pictures also spoke for themselves as objects of beauty and fascination and imagination,” Prelinger said. “He was so deeply imaginative, and I think that this also has something to do in his interest in psychology.”
Prelinger was so impressed with Keffer’s artistic style that one of his paintings, “Urban Infection,” now hangs in her dining room, she said.
“I cherish his painting, but it now carries all sorts of different feelings with it: delight in its beauty and grief in his loss,” Prelinger said.
Keffer wrote about the importance of acknowledging people’s worth and individuality in psychology professor Jennifer Woolard’s class in 2017.
“There is always a story behind every person,” Keffer wrote in the reflection shared with The Hoya. “It is important to recognize that each and every person is significant and worthy of fair treatment in this world.”