MU faculty, staff and students gathered with friends and family Friday to remember students who died during the past year.
MU Remembers, which takes place every year in Memorial Union, honors deceased students through music, poetry and individual tributes.
“No one is more precious to us than our students,” Provost Garnett Stokes told the crowd of around 100 people. “When they are taken from us, it is a tremendous loss. The greatest respect that we can pay to them today is to remember how short life can be.”
After faculty delivered their opening statements, Missouri Students Association President Nathan Willett and Graduate Professional Council President Rachel Bauer shared stories about each of the students, occasionally becoming overwhelmed with emotion.
Dariana Byone, 18, was from Lewisville, Texas, and loved to dance. She was proud of her African-American and Native American heritage, as well as her faith.
Caden Hastie, 20, was from Wentzville and enjoyed the West Coast, travel and motorcycles.
Kyle Hirsch, 22, was from St. Charles and was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity. He was a big fan of Missouri sports, traveling to multiple college football bowl games, and he loved the outdoors.
Tyler Romaker, 22, was from Warrenton and was a member of Delta Chi fraternity. Romaker was a member of Marching Mizzou and loved to travel.
Kelly White, 20, was from Ballwin and is remembered for her long hugs. She would always lend a helping hand to those who needed it.
Peyton White, 18, was from Columbia and was a Bright Flight scholar at MU. He was known for a love of video games, adventure and lacrosse.
Bruce “B.J.” Toal, 23, was from Sidney, Ohio. Toal was a former Missouri wrestler and wrestling coach at Battle High School in Columbia.
Emily Bamberger, 26, was from Kansas City and was a University of Chicago graduate. Bamberger finished her first two years of medical school at MU and loved to read.
Monica Hand, 63, lived in Columbia but was originally from New York. Hand was a doctoral student and poet who published two poetry books, one of which is set to be released in 2018. She was an active member of the Columbia arts community and a professor at Stephens College.
Some MU students who were in attendance at the ceremony offered fond memories of their friends.
“Before every Marching Mizzou rehearsal, we’d throw the football around and just have a good time,” senior Andrew Fansher said of Romaker. “He liked to pretend to be a slacker, but you can’t be a slacker when you’re involved in that many things.”
Freshman Christian Miller said Peyton White was his first friend outside of elementary school, and they would often play video games and basketball together.
“He always seemed to bring a very solidified and calm state of mind to anyone whose life he touched,” Miller said. “The spirit he embodied, everything he gave to all of us … he was just the most inspirational person I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs said Memorial Union will be darkened tonight and flags will remain at half-mast in honor of these students. Additionally, a book commemorating their lives has been placed in Ellis Library.
Edited by Madi McVan | firstname.lastname@example.org