The Oakland University community will gather at Elliott Tower with the families of students, staff and faculty that have passed away over the past year to honor and celebrate their lives, on April 11, 2018,
The Remembrance Event will take place from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and, in the case of rain will be moved to the Oakland Center Banquet Rooms.
“We had wanted to plan something to acknowledge and recognize anyone who had passed in the academic year,” said Kathleen Genord, events coordinator in the Office of the Provost. “That includes current students, current staff and faculty and retired staff and faculty.”
Jon Margerum-Leys, dean of the School of Education and Human Services, will emcee the event to guide the flow of the service, while President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz and Provost James Lentini will both give short speeches.
There will be a reading of the names of those who have passed, along with chiming of the bell from the carillon tower after each name, and families will be presented with a certificate of achievement with their loved one’s area of work or study.
For one veteran student Cameron Docherty of the United States Army, who passed away in February with only a semester left in his computer science program, taps will be played and the folded American flag will be presented to his family.
Jean Ann Miller, director of the Center for Student Activities and Leadership Development, created this event last year and reports it will now be an annual occurrence.
Students who had passed used to be acknowledged at the commencement ceremony, but according to Miller, this is becoming more frequent, so the Remembrance Event was created so they could be rightfully acknowledged.
Students Nicholas Ritz and Docherty, who will be honored at this event, will still receive a diploma at the April and December commencements respectively due to how close they were to graduating. It is unclear whether all students who pass on will be acknowledged at commencement ceremonies moving forward.
“All these individuals, whether they were students, faculty or staff, contributed to our Oakland University community and I think that it’s really important that we acknowledge and honor their lives,” Miller said.
The 17 individuals who will be honored at this event are eight students, three staff members and six faculty: cinema studies student Guy Beauchamp, social work student Chelsea Collins, computer science student Cameron Docherty, pre-nursing student Michelle Dong-Dobson, business administration student Sara Elizabeth Medon, graphic design student Nicholas Ritz, psychology student Shelby Seyburn, engineering student Dennis Weathers, retired staff Geraldine Palmer Coon, retired staff Lucy Douglass, facilities and management staff Clare McVety, SEHS Distinguished Professor Emeritus James Clatworthy, Distinguished Professor of education Ronald Cramer, Professor Emeritus of English Thomas Fitzsimmons, Professor Emeritus of organic chemistry Kenneth Harmon, Professor Emeritus of modern languages and Literature Donald Iodice and OUWB faculty Doctor Samia Ragheb.
“I think it’s nice to close the academic year with remembrance and acknowledgement of the accomplishments of the people who passed,” Genord said. “It allows their families to gather and have a sort of feeling of belonging with the other members of Oakland University as well.”
All students, staff and faculty are invited to join this event.