Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Illness Claims UA Student


William W. Malnati Jr., 24, a junior majoring in journalism from Centennial, Colorado, died on May 16, leaving an unmistakable void in the College of Communication and Information Sciences and at the University of Alabama.

“Billy was in my JN 200 Introduction to Journalism class,” said George Daniels, associate professor of journalism, in an emailed statement. “He was one of my enthusiastic students of the more than 30 enrolled this past spring. He was a joy to have as a student.”

Daniels said Malnati asked lots of questions about the things going on in the news and was passionate about journalism.

“I think it was his excitement about journalism that I admired,” Daniels said. “But, beyond that passion, he was very driven to accomplish his goals. He would turn in a paper and want to know almost immediately what I thought about it. He took pride in all of his assignments.”

Malnati was conscientious and focused as a student, Daniels said.

“I admire his perseverance, the type of perseverance that he exhibited while fighting an illness,” he said. “He made up every single assignment in spite of an extended hospitalization during the semester.

“The death of William Malnati is a loss to journalism and a loss to the University of Alabama,” Daniels said. “We will miss his smile, his passion for journalism and the go-getter attitude that made him such a great student to have in any class.”

Malnati’s sixth grade teacher, Sandy Garrettson Underwood, shared similar sentiments describing him in the online guest book at Olinger Chapel Hill Mortuary and Cemetery, as a 12-year-old with a twinkle in his eye and an infectious laugh.

“He was one of those students who made making a seating chart a challenge,” Underwood wrote. “It didn’t matter where he was seated because he talked to anyone. What a delightful, special young man he was. You couldn’t be upset with him for very long because he gave you that smile, and you quickly forgot what it was that had upset you.”

Jennifer Greer, chair of the department of journalism, said the faculty will remember Malnati as a dedicated student who wanted to do his best at all times, and one who fought to overcome illness to succeed.

“I had advised William a few times, and what I remember most was his drive to succeed and his energy,” Greer said. “He seemed to approach everything with gusto. He made an impression on all of us from the first time we met him.”

She said she was looking forward to having Malnati in her journalism class in the fall and regrets not being able to have that chance.

Melanie Miller, associate dean of students, agreed that Malnati will be sorely missed.

“As a University, we mourn the loss of our student William Malnati,” she said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

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