Elizabeth Goldenberg had just graduated with honors from the University of Miami, and was planning on moving to New York to pursue an acting career.
But the very next day, she was killed in a boat crash in the Everglades, where she was celebrating her musical theater degree with her family.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. It’s a terrible tragedy,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Robert Klepper told InsideEdition.com on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old woman, who family and friends called “Ellie,” was ejected from an airboat Saturday in the Everglades Wildlife Management Area.
She was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
Three family members were also thrown from the flat-bottomed vessel with a rear-mounted engine — a popular means of traveling Florida’s expanses of marshy wilderness.
Goldenberg’s younger sister, Dana, 20, sustained minor injuries in the crash. Parents Renee Flaxx-Goldenberg and David Goldenberg, both 54, were not hurt.
The Pennsylvania family had flown in to attend Elizabeth’s commencement services Friday. The theater arts major graduated magna cum laude.
She also received one of the university’s top acting awards for her talent and “unlimited potential” onstage, according to the school’s theater department.
Born in Israel, Goldenberg spent a year studying there after high school.
“I will always remember her big hair, her big voice, and most of all her big heart," her classmate and co-star Branden Holzer, told campus newspaper The Miami Hurricane. "She was not only my mentor; she was my best friend,”