MU Remembers celebrates students' lives

Six MU students who died in the past year were honored.

Memorial Union's tower stood dark Friday night as part of MU Remembers, the university's annual memorial service for MU students who have died since April 2008.

The service, which has been an MU tradition since 2002, took place in Stotler Lounge on Friday afternoon. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs presided over the ceremony.

"This program is an opportunity for friends and family to remember our lost ones," Scroggs said. "This is not the age at which people expect to lose a friend and so that can be especially tragic for students."

Scroggs said the students being honored Friday were and always would be an important part of the university.

"Each student we have at MU is a gift and we have no idea how long we get to keep that gift," Scroggs said. "Even if they are no longer with us, these students will always be Tigers and a part of Mizzou."

The students' names also have been etched into a plaque in Memorial Union, and books featuring nameplates honoring each student have been donated to Ellis Library.

The six students honored Friday included: freshman fisheries and wildlife major Austin Baumbach, 20, who died in January from congestive heart failure, a complication from muscular dystrophy; Ella Brown-Vallar, 54, a graduate student completing requirements for her Ph.D. in health education, who died earlier this month; freshman political science major Evan Dalgaard, 19, who died in a traffic accident in April 2008; freshman journalism major Andrew Hoien, 19, who died in March of aortic dissection; Philip Kozak, 18, who died in August and had been accepted into MU; and biological sciences graduate student Hande Odaman-Mercan.

Missouri Students Association President Jordan Paul and Graduate Professional Council President Alaine Arnott gave brief biographies of the deceased students.

Theater professor Clyde Ruffin recited the poem "Elegy" by Bob Watts and junior Jaqui Rogers performed two songs during the ceremony, including the school's alma mater "Old Missouri."

Freshman Steven Shrout, a friend of Hoien, said the playing of "Old Missouri" was fitting for a ceremony meant to remember him.

"I know he would have liked that our alma mater was played, being the Tigers fan that he was," Shrout said. "I think this service helped. It helped me, I think it helped the family as well and it show that the university really does care about the students we've lost."

Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton offered remarks during the service. He said Memorial Union is the perfect place on campus to honor the deceased students.

"It is fitting that we gather today in Memorial Union because this tower was built to remember those we lost in war," Middleton said.

Memorial Union was constructed following World War I.

After the ceremony, the Reynolds Alumni Center and Switzler Hall bells rang to honor the students who had died in the last year.

"Today bells will toll over Francis Quadrangle and Memorial Union's tower will be darkened to commemorate those who we remember," Middleton said. "However, tomorrow the sun will be shining bright over Francis Quadrangle and, although we will never forget them, it will be a new day."

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