Coming back to campus after Winter Break was a bittersweet experience for many students after the recent loss of two members of the Horned Frog community.
Matthew Nichols and Clay York were both honored at separate memorial services held on campus this week.
York, a 2013 magna cum laude graduate, died Dec. 22 at the age of 21 in New York City. He graduated with a double major in modern dance and ballet and minored in journalism.
Nichols, a senior finance major and a member of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, died Jan. 1 at the age of 22 in San Diego, Calif.
Friends and family honored Nichols at an Ignite service held on Monday, Jan. 13 in the University Recreation Center.
Members of Phi Kappa Sigma walked to the memorial together from the fraternity house and sat together during the service.
Taylor Nichols, Matt’s older brother, flew in from California for the Ignite service where he read a letter from their mother reflecting on the family’s final days with Matt.
“There was nothing left unsaid; we all knew how much he loved us and he knew how much he was loved,” Taylor read from the letter.
Senior entrepreneurial management major Morgan Mahoney wrote in a Facebook message to TCU 360 for a previous article that Nichols taught him to enjoy the little things.
“These small parts of life are the things you can look back on and reminisce in,” Mahoney wrote. “He had this gold robe he would wear around and we started calling him ‘Le Prince,’ joking about how he is going to stand atop Mount Olympus one day in his gold robe. I am sure he is there now right next to the King Himself.”
Mahoney also wrote that Nichols always looked to have fun with his friends and could make a great time out of any situation.
“It was hard not to love him, his positive attitude was so contagious it was incredible, I have never met anyone with such a zeal for life,” Mahoney wrote.
Clay York’s service to “celebrate his life and legacy” was held Wednesday, Jan. 15 in the Brown Lupton University Union Ballroom.
York was a resident assistant, worked for TCU student media and was a member of the John V. Roach Honors College.
York was named Mr. TCU at homecoming 2012 his senior year. In the “Best Memories of Clay York” Facebook group, many students wrote that York seemed to be able to know everyone on campus and showed love to all those he met.
Such sentiments were also reflected during the memorial service. Ryan Tiglas, a senior political science major, said that there was a reason that York was famous for his three-hour lunches.
“From the moment he told me that he wanted to have lunch, I would say ‘I’ll meet you in two hours,’ because that is when we’ll get to talk,” Tiglas said.
Til York, Clay’s sister, continues to post updates in the Facebook group from their family and what they know about Clay’s death. She also has posted messages from their father, Rik York, to Clay’s friends.
“I believe the more pertinent question is ‘What now?’ We need to move,” Rik wrote in a post on Dec. 30. “I invite you to reach out to someone known or unknown and make a difference in their life; as many of you have shared Clay has done in your lives.”
Rik also spoke at the memorial service on campus about how much TCU meant to Clay and shared personal memories of his son.
“He was love,” Rik said. “Not personified love. He was love.”