UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School laments the passing of graduate student Matthew O'Neill, who was killed in a bicycling accident on August 10 in Santa Maria. O’Neill had just finished his third year as a doctoral student in the Special Education research area, under the direction of his advisor Dr. George Singer. Friends and colleagues remember him as a quiet and seemingly shy individual who became strong and forceful when advocating for the legal rights of people with disabilities and their families. He was adding a Ph.D. to his legal training to help parents and teachers better meet the needs of their children and students. Matt was an expert in special education law and had worked as a legal advocate in the Los Angeles area before entering our graduate program.
“As a person Matt is remembered as witty, intelligent and kind,” says Senior Associate Dean Betsy Brenner. “He was into extreme long distance bicycling events, having traveled from Paris to Normandy in one event, and more recently down the coast of California. I will miss Matt, as will many others here.”
The Gevirtz School we will have a memorial event in honor of O’Neill this fall. Details will be sent out when the event is planned.