Colleen Hammond | News Editor
Kevin Hastings’ world completely transformed on Saturday with a single phone call. After not hearing from his childhood friend for several hours, he became concerned. Hours later, he received a call confirming the worst case scenario: Lucas Traverse had died.
At around 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, the Duquesne sophomore was struck and killed by a train on the South Side near Fourth St. and Color Park, according to the Pittsburgh Office of Public Safety. the Pittsburgh City Police are investigating his death and have not provided any more information as to the reason for his death.
Traverse, a student in the Palumbo- Donahue School of Business, had a years-long passion for the stock market and trading, according to Hastings a student at Kutztown University. The two spent many afternoons watching the market and discussing potential profitable stocks, Hastings said.
“He was a great guy,” he said. “He always tried to make the best out of a situation.”
Hastings met Traverse back in middle school, while the two were growing up in Chalfont, Pennsylvania. Despite living just one street apart for the majority of their lives, they did not meet until their pre-teen years. Hastings was drawn to Traverse’s “extremely outgoing” personality, and the two formed a close bond that continued through high school and college.
“He loved to make people feel happy,” Hastings said.
Along with their shared passions for entrepreneurship and the stock market, the two bonded over their love of sports, frequently cheering each other on in their respective games through high school: football for Hastings and lacrosse for Traverse.
Hastings recalled a long-treasured moment between himself and Traverse. When the two were in high school, Hastings was playing a football game while Traverse sat and cheered him on in the stands. Part-way through the game, Hastings was injured and could not continue to play. He remembered feeling “beat-up” and “upset.” After the game, Traverse called Hastings and gave him a pep talk.
“He called and he just said to me, ‘At the end of the day, it’s just a high school sport,’” Hastings said, grateful for Traverse’s perspective on the situation.
Hastings said these types of encounters were not uncommon for Traverse. He always sought to “bring people up,” a phrase Hastings used to describe Traverse’s earnest desire to challenge everyone around him to better themselves.
Hastings described Traverse as a “happy guy” who was able to “talk to everyone.”
Hastings said he is shocked by Traverse’s death, as he remembers him as someone who constantly looked forward to “experiencing life” and wanted to “see what was out there” in life.
When Hastings and his circle of friends did not hear from Traverse for several hours on Saturday, the group began to fear something had happened to their friend. Hastings recalled the moment another friend called him and said “We found out the worst.”
Although Hastings was deeply saddened by the loss of his friend, he expressed a need to help the Traverse family in any way possible.
As a result, Hastings started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for funeral arrangements for the Traverse family.
“Whether there is a funeral or not, there will be a cost to burying your son,” Hastings said. “It’s just not fair to the family.”
Since launching the campaign on Saturday, Hastings has raised nearly $30,000, almost triple his initial goal of $10,000. And donations continue to pour in. Hastings noted that Duquesne’s Greek Life community has been among the most generous and supportive during this difficult time.
“It just shows you how much he was loved,” Hastings said.
Traverse, a brother of Sigma Tau Gamma, will be missed greatly by the other members of this fraternity.
“Lucas was an amazing friend, always supportive and looking to better those around him. He was the type of guy who did amazingly kind things, not for recognition, but out of the kindness of his heart. He never ceased to brighten the mood with his amazing smile, even in the worst of times,” said Michael Bunce, president of Sigma Tau Gamma. “Lucas truly was the best of us, and it hurts that he isn’t with us anymore. He had such a great impact on so many people’s lives and he will never be forgotten.”
The brothers of Sigma Tau Gamma are scheduled to honor Traverse at a memorial mass at The Chapel of the Holy Spirit on Thursday at noon. There will be an accompanying prayer service and candlelight vigil on Academic Walk following the mass at 1 p.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the mass will be limited to family members and fellow fraternity members. However, students and faculty may attend the mass and prayer service virtually.
“Thank you for all the donations and support. It’s all for his family. And please just keep praying for them,” Hastings said in gratitude to the Duquesne community.
In addition to Traverse’s on-campus memorial, his family will also receive friends and family this coming Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until his funeral service at noon in St. Jude Church in his hometown of Chalfont, PA.
“It’s just not going to be the same, all of us — together — and he’s not going to be there with us,” Hastings said.