This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

UB student-soldier dies in Iraq

Published: December 2, 2004

Reporter Editor

David L. Roustum was remembered by UB faculty members last week as a conscientious student who was well-liked by his classmates and instructors.

The UB student, a member of the Army National Guard, was killed on Nov. 20 in Baghdad when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the Humvee in which he was riding.

A senior management major with concentrations in both accounting and financial analysis, Roustum had been called to active duty at the end of the Fall 2003 semester—one semester shy of graduation.

He was a member of the Fall 2003 advanced financial accounting class taught by Susan S. Hamlen, associate professor and chair, Department of Accounting and Law, School of Management.

"David was very well-liked, easy going, polite and respectful in class," Hamlen recalled. "For one of the projects, students could either team up or go it alone, and David was in a team of four students that worked exceptionally well together.

"He was naturally concerned about fulfilling his course requirements before he was shipped overseas, and I remember he was very conscientious in finding out what he needed to do and was able to complete all requirements," she said. "This particularly impressed me because it was a difficult course and it would have been easier for him to let things go, especially considering the extra planning and responsibilities with which he was faced."

Ann Burstein Cohen, adjunct associate professor, Department of Accounting and Law, also taught Roustum during his final semester at UB.

"He was a genuinely nice person, always very upbeat," Cohen remembered. "As I recall, he first got his orders before Thanksgiving and he thought he was going to have to miss the end of the semester. But there were delays and he was able to complete the semester, although he often rushed into class in his uniform trying to squeeze in the rest of his semester work while undergoing training."

Cohen noted that Roustum had to miss class early in the semester because he had served in an honor guard for another Western New Yorker who died overseas.

"I often thought about him when I heard news of Iraq and wondered how he was faring, hoping that I would not hear his name," she said.

UB plans to hold a university-wide memorial service for Roustum sometime next semester, and also hopes to erect some kind of permanent memorial to the student, said Dennis Black, vice president for student affairs. The university also may award Roustum a posthumous degree, Black added.

"We've been in contact with the family, and they appreciate the opportunity to grieve with the university community," he said.

Roustum, 22, of West Seneca, graduated from Orchard Park High School, where he played football and club hockey. He enlisted in the military after graduating in 2000. He was deployed with the 108th Infantry Regiment at the Masten Avenue Armory.