Campus, News, Obituaries

Obituary: Remembering BU student Georgia Dray

Georgia Dray, a junior in Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences, died on March 27. She was 21. Her family remembers her as being compassionate, loving, athletic and having a deep passion for psychology, her intended major.

Georgia Dray Obituary
Georgia Dray, 21. Dray, a Boston University College of Arts and Sciences junior, died March 27. COURTESY OF SHERRY DRAY

Given the name Li Tao at birth, Dray was born in the Guangxi province in China, according to her mother, Sherry Dray. She was adopted and brought to the United States in 2001 when she was 14 months old. 

Her daughter’s passion for psychology started at a very young age, Sherry Dray said.

“I can remember her being very inquisitive about how the brain worked, and when we took trips anywhere, we usually ended up at a bookstore and she would come out of one with some psychological textbook,” Sherry Dray said.

As a child and teenager, Georgia Dray enjoyed playing checkers and became an accomplished archer and musician. She loved spending time with her family. Together, they went on vacations to Europe, cruises, hiked and camped, trying new foods and restaurants throughout. She was also an animal lover who adored her dogs Bella and Buddy.

Georgia Dray had a “sarcastic sense of humor,” Sherry Dray said, and made her laugh a lot with her funny observations and comments. She recalled a memory when their family visited the top of the Eiffel Tower and Georgia Dray tried champagne for the first time. 

“She took a sip and of course at the top of the Eiffel Tower, they charge you way more than what it’s worth,” Dray said. “She felt so bad because she had a sip or two and said ‘I really don’t like it.’ We kind of laughed and told her it was okay. It was just for the experience.”

Despite it being a difficult and lengthy process, Georgia Dray started searching for her biological family at the age of 15, Sherry Dray said. She added Georgia Dray hoped to have children of her own one day in hopes of having a biological connection with members of her family.  

“She didn’t know any of her background. Every time we went to the doctor, when they asked ‘Do you have any history of X, Y and Z in the family?’ She just didn’t know,” Dray said. 

Sherry Dray said she will continue searching for Georgia Dray’s biological family on her behalf. 

Georgia Dray is survived by her mother and father — Sherry Dray and Richard Dray II of Raynham — her brothers — Richard Dray III and John Dray of Shrewsbury — her grandparents —  Jeanne Dray and Richard Dray of Stoughton and Victoria Jensen-Bender of New Jersey — as well as several aunts, uncles and cousins.

A Celebration of Georgia Dray’s life was held on April 1 and guests were encouraged to donate in her memory to or the Nanching Project to assist Chinese adoptees and birth families reunite.

“Georgia was, and remains our world. She was my life’s greatest blessing and I miss her terribly,” Dray later wrote in an email. “I think her message was to love passionately and be kind to one another.”

BU Parents United — a Facebook group for parents of students at BU — is working toward building a memorial garden for Georgia Dray in the backyard of her family’s home. 

Donations can be sent to a Paypal set up for the garden, the group’s founder Alessandra Kellermann on Venmo, or by emailing

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or contemplating suicide, please reach out for help at the National Suicide Prevention Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or text Hello to 741741.



  1. Beautifully written as we grieve with Georgia’s family and hope to comfort them in some small way. Georgia was full of life and passion – having just transferred to BU this year.

    BU must end their stagnation and do better with mental health supports and stop treating mental health challenges and suicides as a stigma they want to bury. Talking about it will not invite more suicides but will instead help everyone who needs someone to listen and support them to REACH OUT. Even if you are not hurting but someone you care about is, you can call the 1-800-273-8255 to speak in private to a counselor 24/7.
    Why was there no tribute to Georgia by BU? They have done so for others in the past. Why was the BU campus in its entirety with professors not informed and given resources to use and call if they need help or this triggered any emotions? Certainly not because of this amazing family.

    Where is BU’s new mental health director after 5 months? Where is the board of trustees we have written for 2 years now? Where are more counselors instead of just making apologies for not having enough? When will BU realize talk is cheap but when they walk the walk and truly invest in the wellbeing of all terriers and faculty , it’s a win-win and academic successes will multiply.
    Mental health = Physical Health Dean Elmore and President Brown. Georgia should be here today and so should other terriers we have lost this year permanently or who have left the school because of lack of supports. Our terriers deserve the best because they give their best when they arrive at BU and follow their dreams for almost $80,000 a year now. Being a member of the JED foundation isn’t enough – follow their templates – and what schools like UNC have done with tragedies like this. BU can be a national example here if they choose.

    It’s been an honor to help comfort the Dray family especially Georgia’s mother who is full of grace and courage humbling us all.

  2. To the Dray Family,
    I am very sorry for your loss. I did not know your sweet Georgia but she will be in my thoughts and prayers as will you❤️

  3. My deepest thoughts and prayers are with the Dray family, Georgia’s friends and the BU community. More must be done in addressing the dire needs of students to support their mental health. Let Georgia’s legacy be a community coming together to find solutions to meet the mental health needs of BU’s student body. We owe that to her and her family.

  4. I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved daughter. She sounds like an amazing person. May her memory be a comfort and a blessing.

  5. My deepest condolences go out to Georgia’s family. As a parent I cannot imagine the hurt that the family is going through. If I could wrap my arms around them and tell them everything will be alright, I would. But the truth is, all of us know of someone dealing with mental illness in their family or with a friend. Sadly, our inability to deal with the situation brings tragic results. Results that will forever hurt.

    I hope and pray that Georgia’s loss will give us pause to step back and be there for each other. For colleges to come up with a plan to provide adequate counseling services to those crying out for help. It’s time to step up. The time is now.

    Many prayers to all who knew, loved and will remember Georgia. God bless!

  6. Sherry and family, I am so very sorry for the loss of your lovely daughter, Georgia. May her memory be eternal in all that surrounds you. Know that as a fellow mom I think of you often and what you are going through. May those good thoughts and prayers surround you and give you some sense of peace.

  7. It’s very sad. I feel for Georgia, her parents and her family and friends.
    I adopted my daughter from China the same year as Georgia’s parents, and she’s a Jr at BU.
    I agree, BU seems to need more counseling services and responsive counselors. Also, at BU (and worldwide), asking for and receiving counseling needs to be de-stigmatized … we as a society need to realize that all of us need supportive listening and care, and should not be afraid to say we’re in need.

  8. What beautiful light in this world! I hope we can learn from this awful tragedy and open up this dialogue about mental health at Boston University. As a fellow parent I wrap all my love and support around Georgia’s Mom . I want her to know that I will not forget her name. I hope as parents we can demand more for our students. Mental health needs to be a priority no one should have to wait for a counselor.

  9. So sad to hear of the death of another one of our students, friends, classmates, daughters, loved ones. I, too, believe more could have been to save this beautiful girl’s life. The stress these students feel is so overwhelming. We have to remember that they experienced Covid much differently than adults. Their entire world was taken away when we all went into isolation. As adults, we knew it was temporary, they did not. They experienced a trauma, and many of these students exhibit PTSD-like symptoms.

    Stress relievers like dogs to pet, professors aligning their programs so all papers/tests/quizzes aren’t due all at once in all classes are helpful things to say, but they really haven’t been done. Maybe that’s because of the lack of leadership in the area of mental health at BU. Losing one student is too many.

    My heart goes out to this family and to the students at BU. They deserve better.

  10. I’m joining with the many other BU families grieving the passing of Georgia and holding her family in my thoughts. I also call on BU to be doing far more to support their students. She and her family deserves nothing less

  11. Sherry, you and your family are in my heart and mind. It was so terrible to hear about the loss of your daughter, a beautiful terrier. I express my sincere sympathy and may God give you and your family the peace that you all seek.

    • Thank you Tanisha for this thoughtful article. My sincere hope is that BU will make substantial changes in the mental health services offered.

      To beautiful Georgia’s family: I cannot imagine the grief you are experiencing. I have carried you in my heart for days now. Please know that you are surrounded by a community who cares…and who remembers your angel, Georgia. To Sherry, mom to mom, I hold you in my heart as you navigate what must feel like a nightmare. I pray for change in the name of your daughter. Her legacy lives on. We may never understand her personal demons but we can see the love of her family. This community envelops you all with support, and with love.

  12. Dear Sherry, Dray family & friends,
    I am at a loss for words – please accept my deepest condolences to you at this time. I’m sure Georgia’s vibrant personality left a mark on everyone who knew her. She sounded wonderful. I hope her garden will bring many happy memories to you.

  13. Georgia will not be forgotten. Let’s keep her name in the present so that her memory can be a step toward bringing light to those in need. We mourn with you for the loss of your beautiful daughter

  14. My sincerest condolences to the Gray family for the loss of your beloved and beautiful daughter. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May your sweet Georgia Rest In Peace. May your bravery and courage be a light for other families to share their experiences. I hope and pray as well that together as families and as a BU community that we come together to truly make some changes in regards to mental health services. Sending hugs, love and prayers in this most difficult time. God bless!

  15. Hilary Silberman

    My condolences to Sherry and her family. You and Georgia have been on my mind since I heard about your tragic loss. BU needs to do more support our terriers mental health day to day and have better access to care when they are in crisis.

    I will keep. Georgia in my thoughts. May her memory be a blessing.

  16. Dear Dray Family,
    I wish you peace and love as you navigate your days ahead. Georgia was certainly an amazing human being and you are an amazing family. Thank you for sharing her story. May we all honor her memory by advocating for mental wellness for all.

  17. I am so very sorry for your tremendous loss. Your daughter sounds like an exceptional human being, and her loss must be devastating. Please know that all of us fellow BU moms are holding you and Georgia in our hearts. May warm memories bring you comfort during this difficult time.

  18. Sending prayers, love and strength to Georgias family during this difficult time. She was a beautiful young lady. It’s hard to know why things like this happen. It seems to be happening a lot lately with so many young people throughout the country. From what I’ve read it seems like you were able to provide Georgia with the a great life and you did the best you could for her. I hope that that will ease some of the pain. You’re in our hearts❤️

  19. BU needs to do more to help those with mental health problems. There are not enough helpful, easily accessible resources.

  20. Dear Dray Family,
    I’m so sorry about Georgia. The BU community had lost a beautiful and smart student, a loving and caring daughter. I hope her memory will be remembered forever, to save others. Sending lots of love, hugs and prayers to you Sherry and to the rest of your family.

  21. My deepest sympathies for your tremendous loss. Your daughter sounds like an extraordinary human being; I’m so sorry she was struggling. Please know that your fellow BU moms are holding you and Georgia in our hearts. May warm memories comfort you during this difficult time.

  22. Thinking of Georgia’s family and friends. Sending strength and gentle hugs. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  23. The Bluth Family

    I keep struggling to find the words to express your grief, but the right words seem impossible to find. Just know that I am thinking of you and your family in every moment. I pray that God will give you the strength and courage you need to face the days ahead. #RIPGeorgia

  24. We all share in the grief and pain of the Dray family. No parent should ever have to bury a child, least of all by a loss at their own hand. There are no words that anyone can say to comfort Georgia’s family. What is so confusing is why BU, unlike other colleges/universities in our country does not use this moment as a way to help others. So many of our young adults and teens are hurting, seriously effected by the isolation of covid. Compound that with the stresses of college they feel, without the social net they used to have under them, and you have a recipe simmering, just waiting to boil over. Other schools that have sadly experienced a student loss, have taken the opportunity to reach out to their students and to their faculty. They have used the situation to educate and help others. Yet, somehow, BU seems to have missed the mark here. And this is not their first time. Last fall, there was a situation in a residence hall which caused the evacuation of students. Rather than open up a lecture hall for the students and offer them a place to stay and a reason for their displacement, students were told to find make their own arrangements. While word traveled through student group chats, making its way to now former students in other states, BU stood silent, allowing everyone to share their own version of the situation rather than the truth and support. Wake up, BU! Live up to your reputation of being a prestigious institution.

  25. Dear Sherry, and family, and all who have known and loved beautiful Georgia… may you find peace and comfort at this time of deep sorrow and grief, and may your hearts know that you are deeply loved. May Georgia rest in peace, and may her memory be a comfort forever. With love, from a BU Mum in Singapore (Pavitar)

  26. To the Dray family,
    I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. You and Georgia shared a remarkable bond and she was truly special. May all of your memories of her be a blessing to you and may the garden that will be created bring you many moments of comfort.

  27. To the Dray family, I can’t imagine to know what you are going through. I do know I have been and will continue to hold you in my heart and prayers. You are a part of our BU family and are held with support, care, and compassion.❤️

  28. Your family will remain in my prayers. Georgia will always be your beloved daughter, sister, grandaughter.