A Mill Hill resident who has devoted his career to community service has been missing since Tuesday night and is presumed dead.
Patrick Donahue, known for his passion for Trenton and his ability to engage young people in community service projects, was last seen Tuesday.
When family members came home Tuesday night, they found a note from Donahue telling them he loved them and indicating he was leaving his car near the George Washington Bridge, friends said.
A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said this morning that an eyewitness reported seeing middle-aged man jump from the George Washington Bridge on Tuesday night. Another witness confirmed that a middle-aged man was observed jumping from the bridge. As of 11:40 p.m. Tuesday night, the water was searched and no body was found.
The investigation is ongoing, said Joe Pentangelo of the Port Authority Media Relations Department.
Donohue lives with his wife, son, and daughter in Mill Hill. In May he left The College of New Jersey, where he had been the assistant provost overseeing the school’s community service efforts and running the Bonner Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, the Sustainability Institute, the Institute for Prison Teaching and Outreach. He also oversaw the Bonner VISTA Fellows program, the National and State AmeriCorps programs, the TrentonWorks Initiative, and the Trenton Prevention Policy Board initiative.
Friends said Donohue, 50, had been planning to start his own community service program for young people and recently was discouraged about leaving his job and struggling to form his own nonprofit.
Donohue received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Rutgers University, where he was the student Vice-Chair of the U.S. Public Interest Research group while an undergraduate. Before joining the staff at TCNJ, he was a political science professor at Middlesex County College for 11 years. He co-authored several journal articles and one book on community engaged learning and civic engagement. A past board president of Isles Inc. and volunteer with local youth programs, Donohue worked with TCNJ Bonner students on a prisoner magazine project.
He was recognized for his service to the community by basketball player Greg Grant in May. He was the main honoree at Grant’s Academic Sports Academy 10th anniversary gala for his commitment to youth development in Trenton. He partnered with Grant to use sports as a vehicle to connect with city kids and then enroll them in educational and enrichment activities. The partnership expanded dramatically over the years, and TCNJ Bonner Scholars currently help run an after-school program for 120 youth at the Academic Sports Academy’s Hedgepeth-Williams site with Grant.
The interim director for the Bonner Center at TCNJ sent out an email to Bonner students and employees on Thursday morning telling them that Donohue had died. The full letter follows:
Dear TCNJ Bonner family,
I’m writing to share sad news. As some of you have heard, we received information this morning that Pat Donohue has died. We don’t have additional details to share at this time, and we hope that you will refrain from speculating or spreading rumors. There will be a campus-wide email sent shortly.
Most importantly, we hope that you will respect the wishes of his family and allow them to process privately for now. If they choose to communicate with you or us, they will reach out.
Regardless of what may have happened, this is a difficult time for the Bonner family. Bonner staff and students on campus have been together today to support each other. We encourage you to lean on each other during this time, and we want to share counseling resources in case you need someone to talk to.
If you need support on Friday or over the weekend, please do not hesitate to reach out to staff in the Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research, or to Campus Police, who can put you in touch with appropriate resources or assistance.
Campus Police – 609-771-2345
Employees can contact the Employee Assistance Program on call number – 609-571-0677
We know this news is hard for everyone, but we also know that we’re a strong community that supports one another and the work that we do. We wanted you to hear it from us before you heard it elsewhere. Please reach out to one another and care for each other.
With deep Bonner Love,
Michael Nordquist, PhD
Interim Executive Director
Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research