Memorial honors lost lives

Sean Joseph

End of semester remembrance helps students cope with death

Dana Kern, freshman nursing major, and other friends of Chelsea Lausberg gathered carnations for her memorial. The end of the year memorial for all university community members who died the past school year was yesterday in the Student Center Ballroom.

Credit: Andrew popik

Friends and family gathered in the Student Center Ballroom yesterday to remember all those in the university community who have died this academic year.

President Carol Cartwright gave her condolences; David Odell-Scott, coordinator of religion studies, spoke about the meaning of death; a harp strummed; and the women’s chorus sang somber pieces.

About 50 people attended the memorial. After it ended, Cartwright led a procession to Risman Plaza where people placed carnations in front of a wreath set up in memory of more than 20 students, staff and faculty members.

“The final weeks of spring semester traditionally are a time of looking back at the academic year,” Cartwright said. “The 2004-2005 academic year has been no different in that respect. But this academic year has been strikingly different than any in recent memory because Kent State has endured an unusual amount of losses.”

Cartwright, who has been at the university for 14 years, said she could not remember a year with an amount of deaths that even came close to this year.

“It’s been a very heavy burden this year and challenging to help everyone cope with this loss,” Cartwright said after the service.

It is especially difficult for a university community to deal with death because it attends to the development of students and their futures, Odell-Scott said.

“And yet we come today to remember those whose dreams were yet to be satisfied,” Odell-Scott said. “They died in the spring of their lives. Their potential forever lost to us, their achievements never attained, their lives cut short.”

The memorial service was a “good beginning” for everyone in the university community who is experiencing the grieving process, Odell-Scott said. The purpose was to give people an opportunity to address their issues of grief.

“These losses are in a very real sense deaths in the family, the university family,” Cartwright said. “The students, faculty and staff members we lost this year will not be forgotten. Many of us will remember them in the permanent place we have carved in our hearts and memories, places that allow us to keep them close, with lumps in our throats and, in time, with smiles.”

Contact safety reporter Sean Joseph at [email protected].