Senior inspires TCU community despite tragedy

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    When it comes to involvement at TCU, Clay York has done it all: Frog Camp facilitator, peer tutor, dancer, assistant hall director, Honors College double major, Mr. TCU, the list goes on.

    But the fondest memory the senior remembers at the university has nothing to do with his accomplishments or personal success.

    The experience that stands out to him the most within the last four years comes from the darkest point in his life, he said.

    When York was a resident assistant in Milton Daniel during his sophomore year, his mom passed away. He flew back to his hometown in Cleveland, Ohio, for the celebration of life and to be with his family, he said. 

    “It was by far the hardest thing I have had to go through in life,” York said.

    When he returned to campus, York was given an envelope from the residents of Milton Daniel. The envelope contained $400, which students contributed to help pay for his airfare, he said.

    York said this was his favorite memory at the university because the loss of his mother helped him grow as a person and the generosity of the students showed him that he is having a positive effect on people’s lives.

    “Those people love and appreciate what I do for them, so in turn, they did something to have a positive effect on my life,” he said. 

    Experiencing that kind of kindness made him want to give more to the university and to the people he is around, he said. 

    York’s commitment to the university is incredible; he is the biggest cheerleader and champion of the university, David Cooper, associate director of Housing and Residence Life, said.

    Chancellor Victor Boschini said York tries to make every organization, club and activity that he associates with a better place.

    “He is always willing to lend a helping hand. He approaches you with that big smile on his face. It always seems to me like he knows just about every one of his fellow students,” Boschini said.

    "York is a role model of showing that you can have fun, be out there and involved but still be an amazing student,“ Cooper said. “There’s not many like him, and there’s probably not going to be many more like him. I’m sad to see him go.”

    York will graduate in May with a double major in ballet and modern dance and a minor in journalism. After graduation, he will pursue a career in dance. He was offered and accepted an apprenticeship with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, he said.

    “I’m a firm believer in doing what you love and pursuing your passions because you only have one life, and you might as well do what you enjoy,” he said. 

    “If you do what you enjoy, you will inspire others to do what they love,” York said.