Remembering Chatham sophomore Daniel Plaut


Winchester Thurston High School

A photo of Daniel Plaut from his high school yearbook.

Haley Daugherty, Sports Section Editor

The Chatham University community feels a great absence following the death of sophomore student Daniel Plaut on Thursday, Feb. 25. He was 21 years old. 

Plaut graduated from Winchester Thurston High School in 2018 and spent his first year of college at Carnegie Mellon University. He transferred to Chatham at the beginning of the 2020 Fall semester to study creative writing.

Plaut is survived by his mother Marlene Behrmann Cohen, his father David Plaut and his brother Benjamin Plaut. The Plaut family wishes not to disclose the cause of death. 

A funeral service was held over Zoom and was attended by Plaut’s family and friends.

Plaut had a deep passion for environmental awareness. He supported the Environmental Defense Fund, which is an organization that works on tackling environmental issues all over the world.

He also actively volunteered for Friendship Circle Pittsburgh. An organization that dedicates its time and effort to strengthening local communities through multiple activities and events.

Plaut also enjoyed poetry. He was featured on Dr. Carrie Tippen’s class podcast “American Writers Pod. On this podcast, he discusses his appreciation for poetry along with theories that he has encountered from reading classic writers. 

He was also recently recognized for his writing talent by receiving an invitation to join Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honor society. Membership to the organization can only be gained through invitation from the local chapter and is recognized as a great accomplishment.

Chatham University’s Minor Bird literary magazine is working with the Plaut family to include some of Plaut’s previous writing pieces in their next issue in an effort to honor his memory.

“One thing that really stuck out to me when I attended his service was how many folks logged in…he was clearly very loved and will be very missed,” said Chatham University’s Dean of Students, Dr. Heather Black. While Dr. Black did not know Plaut personally, she has remained in contact with the family throughout their time of grief.

Plaut was close with his family and was dedicated to being there for them in anyway he could. His funeral was widely attended by his friends and family all recalling their favorite stories about Plaut.

“I heard stories from his extended family about how they used to play games and have fun together,” Dr. Black said. “His brother also spoke at the funeral and he was reminiscing that Daniel always made time for him, always was there for him and how he could always depend on Daniel.”

Through his writing, volunteer work and love, Plaut has left a mark on those he has encountered during his life and will be greatly missed by those close to him.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Environmental Defense Fund or Friendship Circle Pittsburgh.