University to hold service for those who’ve died

Sean Joseph

A campus memorial for all students and staff who have died this academic year will be held at noon tomorrow in the Student Center Ballroom.

The memorial will be for the university community to come together and reflect on the death of more than 20 former students, faculty and staff members, said Greg Jarvie, dean of students, student ombudsman and coordinator for the memorial service.

“There was an unusually high amount of deaths this year, and we thought that because so many people were affected, we wanted to do something for them that wasn’t put together by a family or a student organization,” Jarvie said.

The memorial will be a nondenominational service that will last about 30 minutes and will not name anyone specifically, Jarvie said, because the university is not sure of the exact number of students and staff who have died during the year.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this, and we do not want to open any new wounds,” Jarvie said. That’s why the memorial won’t have personal information regarding those who died.

At the end of the “short and meaningful” service, carnations will be available to place in a wreath set up in Risman Plaza, Jarvie said.

A message from President Carol Cartwright; meditation led by David Odell-Scott, coordinator of the religious studies department; and musical performances will make up most of the memorial, Jarvie said.

“This is an opportunity for people to think about the significance of life and death and the impact of having close associates and friends die within the short period of a year,” Odell-Scott said.

After he speaks, he will give anyone an opportunity to address his or her personal issues of loss, Odell-Scott said.

“It’s important for people to know they are not the only ones going through the loss of a close friend or loved one,” Odell-Scott said. “When you’ve got a university of the size of Kent, death is to be expected.”

Odell-Scott said this service would not make any religious statement.

Contact safety reporter Sean Joseph at [email protected].