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BU recalls grad who worked at trade center

Former WHRW manager missing

Press & Sun-Bulletin

VESTAL -- A Binghamton University graduate and former manager of campus radio station WHRW-FM is among those missing in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, friends and ex-colleagues said Sunday.

Paul J. Battaglia, 22, a 2000 graduate of BU's School of Management, was working on the 100th floor of 1 World Trade Center, the first building struck by a jetliner, according to a statement from WHRW. Battaglia's family has not heard from him since Tuesday's horror.

Battaglia, a native of Brooklyn, was employed as a consultant at the risk management firm Marsh & McLennan Cos. Friends at BU describe him as an outgoing, brilliant, politically conservative management student dedicated to his friends and to improving the radio station.

"Paul had a knack for just lighting up a room -- by cracking a joke or just smiling," said Brian Napolitano, a former WHRW disc jockey who calls Battaglia his best friend. "I don't know how I would have made it through my four years at Binghamton without him."

Jeffrey Goldberger, a BU management professor, said Battaglia organized barbecues for the honors program and was eager to applaud other students' work.

"Paul was always the first guy to stand up and clap. He thought we should all clap and we should all be friends and we should all enjoy life together," Goldberger said. "He was the kind of guy who would raise the level of discourse and raise the spirits of a room, just by being there and smiling."

Battaglia was general manager at WHRW from 1998 to 2000. Colleagues said his dedication and competence helped the station improve its fund-raising and computer system, and ushered in regular coverage of women's basketball games.

Battaglia was a jazz DJ on Sunday evenings and would chat with his own grandfather on the air, said fellow deejay Gregory "The Gregger" Levine. It was during those years that Levine announced he is gay. Levine said the conservative Battaglia was rattled by that news but remained Levine's true friend.

"He was everybody's friend," said Levine, of Binghamton. "Something special to me was that I was really Paul's first gay friend. He definitely didn't shy away from that, and that was very supportive for me."

Napolitano, of Endicott, last spoke with Battaglia Sept. 8. Napolitano, who works in the radiation/oncology department at Lourdes Hospital, said Battaglia had a successful career and a girlfriend and was thinking about pursuing a master's degree.

"He and I kidded ... that we really had done well and that both of us one day would grow old together," Napolitano said. "I really feel like I've lost somebody who was as close to me as anybody has ever been."

Napolitano will host a special tribute show dedicated to Battaglia on WHRW from 7 to 10 tonight.

2001 Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

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