Returning Plattsburgh State students were met to campus with grim news of the death of senior biochemistry major Nicholas Apuzzo.
Apuzzo died Jan. 26 during the winter break when he had fallen off a balcony in Brooklyn. He suffered serious injuries that put him into a coma for 12 days before he died in the hospital. Apuzzo was the youngest of his two siblings
Apuzzo’s loved ones held a funeral mass for him in his hometown of East Islip, New York and were astonished at the amount of support they received.
“The affection from the community was overwhelming,” Alphonse Apuzzo, Nicholas’s father, said. “We stood for two and a half hours greeting guests. The line would have to be a mile long.”
Alphonse Apuzzo said there had to be at least 2,000 guests present at his son’s funeral last Thursday. He has received tremendous support from the friends of Nicholas Apuzzo as well. He requested that everyone who knew Nicholas Apuzzo send him any pictures they may have of his son.
“My son had tons of friends,” Alphonse Apuzzo said. “I find comfort in looking at pictures of my son happy.” Nicholas Apuzzo was involved in many sports including, swimming, golf and hockey.
Alphonse Apuzzo described Nicholas Apuzzo as the type of guy who could do anything he put his mind to. Similar words describing Apuzzo came from Zeta Beta Tau fraternity brother Kevin Gayner.
“His death hit me right in the heart like a dream,” Gayner said.
Nicholas Apuzzo was one of the founding members who restarted the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity chapter after he arrived at PSUC. Gayner said that Nicholas Apuzzo boosted everyone’s mood when morale was low.
“Anytime I saw him it was an instant smile,” Gayner said. “Nick was always happy.”
Gayner said he will always remember Nicholas Apuzzo as a symbol of happiness in the Zeta Beta Tau household at PSUC.
Despite the various activities Nicholas Apuzzo was involved in, he was an excellent student according to PSUC faculty member Donald Slish who had met Apuzzo through one of the biochemistry classes he taught last spring.
“He was a shy guy,” Slish said. “However it was clear he was a good guy. He was smart and he never complained.”
Slish particularly remembers Nicholas Apuzzo from one of his biology classes he taught in the fall. Slish noticed Nicholas Apuzzo’s strong interest of his major. Apuzzo was meant to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the end of this semester.
Anyone who knew Nicholas Apuzzo continually brought up his drive to overcome any task placed in front of him. Alphonse Apuzzo said Apuzzo’s ambition originated from his admiration of Nelson Mandela. Nicholas Apuzzo kept a picture of him framed in his childhood room of East Islip, New York.
Nicholas Apuzzo will be sorely missed by his peers, fraternity brothers and his loved ones.
“He was a loving, caring, witty and beautiful guy,” Alphonse Apuzzo said. “I’m disappointed that he cannot have the future he deserved.”