Friends, family and faculty filed into the University of Georgia Chapel Tuesday, Apr. 29 to honor and remember students, faculty and staff who were lost during the year.
“Each of us is here tonight for a different reason, for very personal and very painful reasons,” UGA President Jere Morehead said at the ceremony’s opening. “We come to mourn a lost friend, colleague, a brother, a sister, a father, a mother, a grandparent or a child. We come with hopes of comfort and offers of solace. We come here because of relationships that were made and because of relationships that have been lost.”
The candlelight memorial remembered the 13 students and 13 faculty and staff members who passed away during the 2013–14 school year. They include:
• Doug Bachtel, professor emeritus in College of Housing and Consumer Sciences’ Department of Financial Planning.
• W. Paul Cassilly, director of design and construction in the Office of University Architects.
• Ronald L. Claxton, research technician in the College of Engineering.
• Jonathan Liston, building services supervisor in graduate studies.
• Jason Michael Manthorne, an instructor in the history department.
• Lucian Mitchell May, public service associate in the Cooperative Extension Service.
• Jenny Penney Oliver, faculty member in counseling and human development services within the College of Education.
• Glenn Owens, programmer in the Office of the Vice President for Research.
• Bettye J. Pearson, building services worker in athletics.
• Bernard Richie, groundskeeper in facilities management.
• Norman Thomson, associate professor in mathematics and science education.
• Margaret Sloan Collins Totty, assistant director in the Disability Resource Center.
• Yongchen Wang, associate research scientist in the Department of Marine Sciences.
• David Peacock Braun, a senior from Marietta majoring in computer science.
• Zachary Daniel Cowart, a graduate/professional student from Douglasville studying veterinary medicine.
• Rebecca Elaine Greene, a senior from Hortense majoring in chemistry.
• Yuzhi Hu, a graduate student from Changzhou, China studying cellular biology.
• George Y. Kuei, a senior from Alpharetta majoring in psychology.
• Zachariah Jones McConnell, a graduate student from Dahlonega studying business administration.
• William “Will” O. Morriss, a freshman from Tucker majoring in marketing.
• Yong Kyu (Kevin) Nam, a senior from Suwanee majoring in Spanish.
• Alexi Julian “A.J.” Owens, a junior from Lawrenceville majoring in fisheries and wildlife.
• Dylan Cane Parker, a sophomore from Toccoa majoring in pre-business.
• Snizhana Radzetska, a doctoral student from Athens studying public administration.
• Brian David Riggenbach, a senior from Marietta majoring in chemistry.
• Catherine Leigh Wilson, a junior from Atlanta majoring in anthropology.
“We all hurt and we grieve for the names that will be read this evening, but we also celebrate the memories that they have left behind,” Morehead said. “Our institutional grief tonight is a statement of community and a celebration of those who now have passed, but helped make this institution the important place that it is for all of us.”
Drew Jacoby, president of the Student Government Association, Silvia Giraudo, chair of the Executive Committee of the University Council, and Jerry Daniel, president of the Staff Council, read the names of the deceased. After each name was read, a candle was lit and the Chapel bell rang once. The ceremony closed with the university’s Southern Wind Quartet performing “Going Home.”
After exiting the Chapel, all attendees lit a candle in memory of their children, friends, colleagues and family members. Groups gathered to comfort one another and talk about those who had passed. Family and friends of Zachary Daniel Cowart, a first-year veterinary medicine student who passed away Jan. 9, wore a photo of Cowart in his memory.
Harriet Peacock, mother of David Peacock Braun, a student who passed away Jan. 14, held a photo of her son after the memorial. She stood her husband, Jon Braun, and with a group of Braun’s friends and classmates, discussing his life and the importance of living to the fullest. “You just never know,” she said after blowing out her candle.
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