The Dennes Room

The Griffin Sean Madden Fund

Many members of the Berkeley philosophy department have warm and affectionate memories of Griffin Sean Madden, who graduated from Berkeley in 2015 with a double major in philosophy and Slavic languages and literature. We were all deeply saddened to learn that Griffin had been one of the victims of the tragic Oakland warehouse fire in December 2016.

Griffin, who was born on July 15th, 1993 and died at the age of 23 on December 2, 2016, was a wonderful presence in our department, both in and out of the classroom. His philosophy teachers describe him as “a person gifted both intellectually and in spirit,” as “the kind of student who makes teaching Berkeley so important and meaningful,” as “full of ideas and of respect for people,” and “as more concerned with understanding and connecting with the world around him than in advancing his own position in it…precisely the sort of student who reminds us why there are places like Berkeley.”

He is remembered as warm, sincere, funny, and passionate, and is having “a sort of infectious happy demeanor that really made it a joy to interact with him.” Griffin profoundly touched the lives of the people who got to know him at Berkeley. As one professor puts it: “If there are young people like that, one thinks, we will be OK. So, while I feel great loss thinking of Griffin, his memory inspires hope for the future.”

In his honor, Griffin’s family has established The Griffin Sean Madden Fund at the University of California, Berkeley. The intent is to support students so they may receive the educational experience that was so valuable and meaningful to Griffin and his family.

To contribute to the fund, please go here.