About two years ago, driving on the way home from college in Ohio, Matthew Crozier told his dad as they passed his former high school that when he got famous he wanted to start a scholarship fund there.
That dream will be realized, but Crozier will never get to see it happen.
That’s because two years ago this New Year’s Day, Crozier, who would now have been 22, died after falling about 30 feet over a railing at a University of Pennsylvania Phi Kappa Sigma International fraternity house while attending a party. The lawsuit contended the fraternity had been warned repeatedly to fix the railing.
His dad, Dave Crozier of the Makefield Brook development off Quarry Road in Lower Makefield, said his son’s dream will be reality because the family received an out-of-court settlement for $3 million, which will be used entirely to fund a scholarship.
The settlement has not been appealed and a family attorney said the money will be paid and put in an interest-bearing account for the scholarship.
“This lawsuit wasn’t about the money. It was started because we wanted to find out what really happened in my son’s death,” Dave Crozier said.
Prior to New Year’s Day 2011, Matthew Crozier, an organ donor whose organs saved the lives of seven people, had dreams of becoming a basketball coach.
“He did not want to be involved in our family business,” his dad said, who owns Pyrometer Inc. Co. in Windsor, N.J. “For as long as I can remember, he wanted to be a basketball coach in Division I.”
By all accounts, he would have achieved that.
Standing 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighing a solid 245 pounds, Crozier played center at both La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, Montgomery County, and John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. John Carroll is a Division III school.
Growing up, the younger Crozier was barely 6 feet tall in ninth grade, but then shot up, said his dad, who stands 6 feet 1 inch tall.
“Even though basketball was his whole life, he never really looked up to any sports figures. He was majoring in business in college,” he added.
In just two seasons at John Carroll, he scored more than 700 points and grabbed more than 400 rebounds.
“He was very competitive. That was his best trait. He loved everyone around him and nobody had a bad word to say about him,” said William Scott, a Fairless Hills attorney who assisted the family in setting up the scholarship fund in Matthew’s name.
Scott also coached Crozier in the Catholic Youth League at St. Ignatius Church in Yardley.
The Matthew Crozier Scholarship Fund Inc. is set to begin for the 2013-2014 school year, Matthew’s dad said.
“He always told me that education is a gift you can’t take away from people. Although he is not here to see it, he will live on by making that come true for others,” his dad said.
“We’re in the process of now setting up a committee to see who gets a scholarship. We want to help as many students as we can. That would be the way my son would want it,” Dave Crozier said.
“The scholarship helps me deal with his loss. If we can change one kid’s life and send them to these institutions that they otherwise could not afford, it will be worth it,” Crozier said. “I read recently that student loan debt has exceeded credit card debt in this country. That is truly sad and we want to help.”
Scott spoke highly of Matthew Crozier and said, from a coaching standpoint, he saw a “driven” and “very competitive” individual.
“The foundation says a lot about him. And his basketball skills spoke volumes of his abilities as an athlete. He was so good that he couldn’t find a pickup game in Bucks County. He’d have to go to Philadelphia to find anyone to play with him; he was that good.”
The attorney who represented the Crozier family in the lawsuit, Robert J. Mongeluzzi, said he hopes others learn from their loss.
“There will never be true closure for Matt’s parents, but they hope this case sends a message to those responsible for the safety and welfare of their children on college campuses across the country.”