The TCU community came together Tuesday afternoon to honor the lives of the four students who died this past year. The Student Government Association planned the event to memorialize Alena Jarvis, Drew Medford, Nick Sheldon and Rebecca Read.
The Student Government Association planned the event to memorialize Alena Jarvis, Drew Medford, Nick Sheldon and Rebecca Read.
Friends of each student spoke and reflected on the life of their loved one. A couple of speakers also chose to read poetry.
First-year student Alena Jarvis who died this past March was remembered by two friends who spoke of her commitment to service and selflessness.
The three others were all incoming students at TCU.
An incoming student and TCU baseball recruit, Drew Medford, was honored by a friend who described him as a gifted athlete, as well as a kind and caring teammate.
Friends of Nick Sheldon, an incoming student from Waco, Texas, reminisced on the days they spent hanging out at his house and a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Super Bowl. One of his friends ended his speech by reading Mary Elizabeth Frye’s “Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep.”
Rebecca Read’s parents sat on the front row while her best friend described the excitement he’d felt when he and Read decided to attend TCU. He also spoke of Read’s dedication to providing feminine hygiene products to the homeless.
Several members of SGA spoke at the event, as well as Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Kathy Cavins-Tull.
Senior Ryker Thompson, who helped organize this year’s event, said was a heartfelt service that SGA The annual event honors students who died that past year.
“It was just a very meaningful project to work on,” Thompson said, “Just because the four students that we lost this year had such an incredible spirit.”
The event was held between Reed and Jarvis Hall at the student memorial, a sculpture many students don’t realize has a significant meaning.
The memorial was constructed in 2013 after SGA proposed the idea. SGA worked with university minister, the Rev. Angela Kaufman, and the TCU Physical Plant to design and construct the memorial.
“The creation of the memorial is an intentional, ongoing, visible way for us to remember those who aren’t with us,” Kaufman said.
A TCU architect, David Hoyler, came up with the minimalistic design of a single lotus leaf.
Unlike Frog Fountain with multiple leaves and water, the single leaf is meant to represent the importance of the individual in the TCU community and the lack of water represents the quiet of campus as students grieve the loss of fellow frog.
Copper was the chosen material since it reflects light, similarly to the light the student reflected into the community.
Kaufman described it as a “beautiful, symbolic way to talk about the impact of one individual in the broader community.”
Previously a plaque inscribed with the deceased students’ names was kept in the Brown-Lupton University Union. While the plaque still exists, SGA and Kaufman are working to find an appropriate way to inscribe the student memorial with the names of those who have died since its creation. Kaufman said they hope to finish that by next academic year.
The event concluded with a song sung by the TCU Concert Corral and the university minister leading the audience in prayer.
“Where there is sadness, let us bring joy. Let us go in peace, amen,” Kaufman said.