"I’ve never met somebody who lit up the room quite like Elizabeth did": Elizabeth Reimer ’24 remembered for her kindness and spirit
The freshman from Holtsville, New York died at home at the age of 18.
Those closest to Elizabeth Reimer ’24 remember her as a selfless and genuine friend, brightening the people and places she touched with her spontaneous, hilarious and fun-loving nature.
Whether it was her signature life-sized Timothée Chalamet cutout or the grid of fake worms she hung on her Dartmouth dorm ceiling, Reimer radiated her own unique energy everywhere she went, according to Reimer’s closest friends.
Reimer’s friends emphasized her willingness to help others and her dedication to those around her.
“She was outrageous in the best way possible,” Reimer’s spring term roommate and close friend Caroline Kramer ’24 said. “She embodied the word ‘kind’ and looked for the best in everyone in every situation. Even when times for her personally got hard, she was still able to bring light into other people’s lives.”
Reimer died by suicide on May 19 at her home in Holtsville, New York at 18 years old. Last year, Reimer graduated from Sachem High School East, where she conducted science research and competed on a competitive dance team. At Dartmouth, Reimer continued to pursue her passion for dance as a member of the multi-genre dance ensemble Fusion.
Reimer is survived by her parents Dennis and Deborah Reimer along with her older brother, Nicholas Reimer.
On May 27, Fusion Dance Ensemble dedicated their final performance of Electric Love to Reimer, and afterwards, performers shared fond memories of their fellow Fusion member.
Fusion member Lisa Wong ’24, who was one of the performers, recalled the Fusion meeting where Reimer shared that she had a “giant life-size cutout of Timothée Chalamet sitting in her dorm room” during her introduction.
“That was just Elizabeth for you,” Wong said. “She was funny, she was bright and she lit up every room.”
According to Anay Saraf ’24, Reimer was “unapologetically herself,” never caring what others thought if she walked through CVS donning a Danny Devito mask, worm earrings and a cowboy bucket hat.
Kramer recalled how Reimer took care to make her friends feel special.
“She made you feel heard, appreciated and as if there was nowhere else in the world she’d rather be at the moment but listening and trying to understand you,” Kramer said. “She’d remember the very little details about you and when you needed to be cheered up, she’d bring that back.”
Kiara Ortiz ’24, Reimer’s next-door neighbor this past year, remembered Reimer’s attentiveness during their first conversation in the North Fayerweather bathroom early fall term.
“We still don’t know each other; I’m new in the building,” Ortiz said. “I walk in, then she hops in, smiling and happy. She’s like, ‘You’re Kiara!’ and I'm like, ‘Who are you?’ and she’s like, ‘You’re the West House senator. I voted for you. We’re in [BIOL 13, “Gene Expression and Inheritance] together.’”
Immediately after the bathroom conversation, Ortiz said she knew Reimer as a kind, sweet person and they started talking more.
Kramer and Saraf also noted Reimer’s passion for serving others, and that she “never wanted a desk job,” according to Saraf.
While Reimer entered Dartmouth as an intended biology major on the pre-med track, her close friends said she later expanded her dreams to working in any broader setting that involved interacting with people — such as in the Social Security Administration or Child Protective Services, Saraf said.
On May 25, during a vigil to honor the four undergraduates who have died this school year, David Katz ’24 described Reimer’s distinct free-spiritedness. He recalled a cherished memory of a moment they shared while on campus together last winter.
“We ran outside at 2 a.m. into the developing blizzard,” Katz said. “She had such a freeness to her — here, Caroline and I were all bundled up, and there she was in sweatpants, a tank top and her Harry Styles cardigan.”
In an interview after the vigil, Katz remembered Reimer as a “trendsetter,” emphasizing her lovable, empathetic and fun personality.
“It was pure fun when you were with her,” Katz said. “I knew I could always go down to her room and she would make me smile. She made every circumstance better — just by her presence — and she always made herself available too.”
Perry Zhang ’24, whose first friend at Dartmouth was Reimer, noted her distinctive dry humor and authenticity in everything she did.
“She was not superficial at all,” Zhang said. “She was very real and genuine as a person.”
Zhang reached out to Reimer on social media after they both performed at a virtual open mic night last spring for incoming ’24s. Zhang recalled being impressed with Reimer’s performance where she danced and rapped at the same time.
Zhang echoed many of Reimer’s other close friends, adding that Reimer was unique in her “substantial” commitment to helping others.
Before coming to the United States as an international student from Beijing, Zhang said he asked Reimer over social media what kind of music American college students listen to. Reimer responded with a list of 100 to 200 songs.
“I think that is really unique about her … she’s very helpful to everyone she meets,” Zhang said. “You don’t see a lot of people like her around.”
Jason Espinosa ’24 remembered Reimer’s humility and the sacrifices she made for her friends.
During a hectic fall term, Reimer would often stay with him for company and emotional support while he studied past three in the morning, even when she had no more work to do herself.
“She could just sit with you in silence and still make you feel so special,” Espinosa said. “It’s insane to me how different Dartmouth feels now without her.”
Ortiz fondly remembers Reimer’s many thoughtful small acts of kindness when they lived in the same building.
For instance, Reimer often walked into the common room and made an effort to say “hi” or “good night,” despite her own life stressors. One night, after coming across Ortiz trying to finish an essay under a tight deadline, Reimer and her roommate left a Polaroid photo and a decorated note saying “We love you Kiara, We hope you finished your essay!” outside her door.
“Elizabeth was the embodiment of goodwill,” Ortiz said. “She always wanted people to be happy — that was her goal. She wanted to help people whenever she could. She was so dedicated to her friends, to her relationships. There was never a point where her loyalty or compassion faltered.”
Alyssa Amorim ’24 met Reimer for the first time when she responded to Amorim’s message in the ’24s class GroupMe jokingly asking if anyone wanted to join her for a “rumble” — a friendly, informal brawl with a group of people — on the Green. Rather than wrestle, Reimer started doing gymnastics, then cartwheeled all the way back to her dorm room.
“I’ve never met somebody who lit up the room quite like Elizabeth did,” Amorim said. “She would dance for two hours straight, spontaneously buy dozens of Silly Bandz with me and do cartwheels around the Green with me at midnight. Her radiant, magnetic energy is — and will always be — absolutely unmatched.”
A burial service took place for Reimer in Coram, New York on Monday, May 24. The Hope for the Children Foundation is accepting donations as a cause Reimer cared for.
Student counseling services are available by calling the College’s Health Services at (603) 646-9442 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and at (603) 646-9440 outside of regular business hours. Additional resources include the Student Wellness Center, Undergraduate Deans Office and the College chaplain for a confidential pastoral counseling session.
Caroline Kramer ’24 is a member of The Dartmouth staff.