MU Remembers ceremony honors, celebrates students’ lives

The annual ceremony paid respects to nine students who died since April 2012.

Nine roses lined a table outside Stotler Lounge on Friday.

The row of bleach-white blossoms, one for each student the university has lost over the past year, led the way into the 2013 MU Remembers Ceremony. The annual tradition, held in honor of students who have died since April of 2012, was open to the public, full of music, poetry and remembrances for those who lost their lives.

“Today we are mourning with you the loss of these wonderful students who departed this life much earlier than we had thought was reasonable,” Chancellor Brady Deaton told those in attendance. “But we want to celebrate the many contributions that they have made to enrich all our lives and certainly the life of this university.”

The annual remembrance speaks to the value MU faculty place on their students, Deaton said. He said it represents the university’s emphasis on unity, deepening linkages in the community through a time of loss, while also celebrating the lives of the deceased.

Memorial Union was left dark and flags across campus flew at half-staff Friday night. The names of the deceased hung on a plaque outside of Stotler Lounge, and books were donated to Ellis Library in honor of each student.

“(The ceremony) is given a lot of thought by all those here,” Deaton said. “It’s a very meaningful ceremony, something we place great value on.”

In a standing-room-only Stotler Lounge filled with family and friends of those lost, Missouri Student Association President Nick Droege and Graduate Professional Council President Kristofferson Culmer spoke briefly about the nine students who lost their lives in the last year.

Carolyn Dolan

Droege described Carolyn Dolan as a “fashionista” – he said she was infamous for her marathon shoe shopping.

“She worked at Journey’s shoes during high school, and had no less than 50 shoes in her closet,” Droege read.

She died Sunday, April 29, 2012. Her cause of death is still being examined.

Carolyn, a freshman political science major, hoped to become an attorney after graduating. She always had a way of making her friends laugh.

Droege read a comment from her roommate Samantha Howse, who said Carolyn was never judgmental and naturally sweet. Carolyn’s younger sister, Erin, said she was glad to have Carolyn as a sister.

At Kirkwood High School, Carolyn was a big personality with a big presence. She was a four-year varsity lacrosse player, and was also known to break out and dance in the middle of her high school cafeteria from time to time.

Emily Ferguson

Emily Ferguson was an easy person to fall in love with.

“Her high school teammates said that everyone just fell in love with her because of her well-known sense of humor and spunky personality,” Droege read.

But she wasn’t always quite so easy to get along with, Ferguson’s stepsister Kathryn Fauser told The Maneater in December. As a matter of fact, Fauser said they almost hated each other when they first met.

It’s funny how things can change when two people become gym locker partners, Fauser said.

Ferguson and Fauser became inseparable. Once Ferguson’s father and Fauser’s mother married, the two friends even became family. Fauser, who is now a sophomore at the University of Alabama, said Ferguson always had a way of brightening her day.

“She was just the funniest person anyone ever met,” Fauser said. “She said the goofiest things. If you were upset she could brighten your mood in an instant. She never showed much emotion herself, but always knew what to say to cheer you up.”

Ferguson was pursuing a degree in business and accountancy at MU. She died Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, after driving westbound in the eastbound lane of Missouri Highway I-70 and colliding with another motorist near Kingdom City.

Michael Heney

Through the years, Michael Heney had held on to his first iPod, and he felt a sense of accomplishment for the feat.

“He was especially proud that he still owned his original iPod, which contained 5,200 of his favorite songs,” Droege read, chuckling with those in attendance.

A member of the College of Business, Heney was an easy-going guy. After all, his favorite hobbies included beach vacations and riding his Yamaha motorbike around campus. Of course when he visited home, he preferred to take the Miata out for a spin.

Heney, a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, enjoyed spending time with his fraternity brothers, but he also loved the time he spent with his family. He grew up in Wisconsin, until moving to Missouri where he played high school tennis.

“Michael is greatly missed by his family and friends,” Droege read.

Heney was working on a degree in business administration and anticipated graduating in the spring of 2014. He died on December 31, 2012, after collapsing and falling at an Edwardsville, Illinois residence, though the cause of death has yet to be determined.

Emily Jackson

Emily Jackson loved her older brother J.C. and was thrilled to be at the same college as him.

“She was fiercely protective of her brother and being at the same university gave her a chance to watch over him,” Droege read.

Jackson, a senior who planned to graduate in May with a bachelor of fine arts degree, died Thursday, March 21 in her Columbia home from natural causes.

Jackson was studying fine arts at MU. Her interest in art developed primarily over her high school years, Droege read. One of Jackson’s teachers, Elizabeth Barker, was a positive role model for her and influenced the love of the craft everyone always saw in her.

But the art student may have been remembered best for her mega-watt smile.

"There was a perceptible difference in the energy of the room when she walked in,” art professor Jo Stealey told The Maneater in early April. “She had this effervescent personality and positive attitude that just exuded from her and infected everyone. You were a better person when you were around her.”

When it came time for Jackson’s memorial service in Brookfield, Missouri, Stealey knew she had to be there.

“She was a greatly valued member of our community and a dear friend,” Stealey said in early April. “It was important for us to mourn her untimely passing, support her family and come together to celebrate the moments we had with her. It was very healing for all of us.”

Timothy Kelly Needham

Timothy Kelly Needham would have done almost anything just to spend more time at MU.

“He loved Mizzou so much he talked of intentionally failing a class his senior year so he could take a victory lap and stay longer,” Droege read, pausing for a moment to laugh.

Needham, who studied business, was scheduled to graduate this spring. He was a notorious hard worker in his field, Droege read. Not only was Needham a bright student at MU, but he also took his talents to companies like Aflac, Jimmy’s Bar and Rovertown last summer.

It was easy to see Needham’s passion in all that he did. He was dedicated to his Delta Tau Delta fraternity brothers, and was a fierce Tigers fan. He was especially happy when MU beat his home state’s University of Illinois.

“He lived his life to the fullest and always wore a smile,” Droege read.

Needham died Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012 following a two-vehicle collision near Minoqua, Wisconsin. The university will award him his business degree with honors.

Cole Patrick

Cole Patrick always tried to live life to the fullest, whether he was at his fraternity Delta Upsilon or in his childhood home.

“Cole loved hanging out with friends, playing the guitar and teasing his mother and family,” Droege read. “His many friends, along with his mother, father and brothers Conar and Cort, still talk of his contagious smile and love of life.”

Patrick, who was pursuing a bachelors of science degree, hoped to attend medical school to become a cardiologist after graduating. Patrick had a wide range of interests that spanned over many years.

In high school, Patrick was a member of the National Honors Society and the Pep Club band. He was also involved with St. Joseph Catholic Church.

He was truly a loyal friend and brother, Droege read.

Patrick died Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, when the truck he was traveling in left the road and hit a tree off of U.S. Highway 169.

Aditi Avhad

Aditi Avhad worked hard to maintain a perfect grade point average throughout her first year at MU.

A member of the School of Medicine, Avhad was also involved with the Cultural Association of India, Med-Zou Community Health Clinic and was in practical training with the Center for Health Care Quality.

Even though she was busy, Avhad was still able to find time to cheer up those around her in graduate school.

“She was a delightful, fun-loving, brilliant lady,” Culmer read about his peer.

Avhad earned a bachelors degree in dental surgery in Mumbai, India. After working as a dentist for a year, Avhad travelled to Columbia in 2001 to pursue a master’s degree in health administration. Although she loved Columbia, her strong roots in India influenced many of her interests.

Bollywood movies and music were always her favorite, Culmer read. She was often known to sing while cooking meals and she loved going on excursions and attending festivals.

“All who knew her are devastated to lose such a beautiful and wonderful young woman,” Culmer read.

Avhad died Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012 after suffering injuries in a bus accident near Litchfeld, Illinois.

Christine Ricaña

Christine Ricaña had a smile that could brighten up a room and bring warmth to the hearts of everyone that saw her, Culmer read.

Although Ricaña, a graduate student studying physical therapy, didn’t look it, she liked to skateboard. Actually, there really wasn’t a lot the MU bachelor of science degree recipient didn’t like, Culmer read.

“When she wasn’t busy she loved skateboarding, climbing trees, she loved to fish and take walks around Columbia,” Culmer read. “Her favorite sport was basketball and as a child she was always out in the driveway shooting hoops.”

In high school, Christine was every bit as involved. She was a member of the cross-country team and a pole-vaulter on the track team. She also found the time to play the violin in her high school orchestra.

Christine always loved music, and her brother Clifton Ricaña will always remember her playing one song more than any other.

“Christine loved all kinds of music and one song her brother Clifton says he can always remember her singing was Otis Re–,” Culmer read, pausing for a moment to recollect himself. “–Redding’s ‘Standing By the Dock of the Bay.’ She had good taste in music, too.”

Christine died Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 at University Hospital.

Stephanie Schroder

Swing and electronic dance music may not often be brought up in the same sentence, but to Stephanie Schroder, they were always the best genres around.

“In her spare time she enjoyed listening to a large range of music – Frank Sinatra, swing music and also electronic dance,” Culmer read.

Among her wide range of hobbies, Schroder was fond of horseback riding, animals and hiking and camping, all while making time to dance every once in awhile. The psychology student liked traveling, too.

There was a lot Schroder was interested in, but she focused her studies on psychology. Schroder came to the MU graduate school after graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor of arts because of MU’s strong psychology program, Culmer read. She excelled in all of her classes while working to complete her doctorate degree in psychology.

“Stephanie is greatly missed by her friends, peers and family,” Culmer read.

Schroder died on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012.

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