Eastern Kentucky University remembers those lost over the last year.
The EKU community came out to honor students, faculty and staff that have recently passed away in a memorial service held in Walnut Hall of the Keen Johnson building on April 17.
The service is an annual event that is free and open to all EKU students and people in the community.
The event opened with remarks from David McFaddin, the senior vice president for operations and strategic initiatives. Also speaking were President Michael Benson, SGA President Ryan Wiggins and several faculty members from departments across campus.
The EKU symphony strings orchestra played immediately preceding and concluding the memorial.
Jeremy Mulholland, director of orchestral activities for the School of Music said the orchestra has been a proud part of this event over the last decade.
“We’ve done it probably for 10 years. We’ve been a part of it in one way or another,” Mulholland said. “That’s not the full orchestra, it’s just the strings from our orchestra, and that’s just part of our service to the university. I feel like it’s an important thing for our students to be involved with.”
Mulholland emphasized that the service is not only a good learning opportunity for the student musicians to see how the university works and how to perform at a more serious event but is also the duty of the organization to give back to their community.
“I think it’s always a moving service, and it’s really nice I think for the family and friends to get the chance to stand up and show that there is someone there for that person that they cared about,” Mulholland said. “I think it went well.”
Mulholland also mentioned that along with some of the faculty, many of his students were close to one of the students being honored at the memorial, former marching band member Brandi Leigh Barker.
“One of the students that passed away this year played in our marching band. So a lot of our students knew Brandi,” Mulholland said.
One student worker with Student Alumni Ambassadors (SAA), Casey Welch, a 20-year-old sophomore environmental health science major from Paris, said that while he did not personally know anyone who had died in the past year, the memorial was important to the university because it payed tribute to those who had passed.
“It’s a service put together to honor them,” Welch said.
Welch also said the event is important to campus organizations like SAA.
“SAA’s motto is to serve current, future and present students and faculty at EKU,” Welch said. “We work alongside the house of the alumni. Working the memorial service sort of ties into our mission statement, serving the current and the past and the ones who passed away.”
While the memorial seems to consist of the same events each year, both Mulholland and Welch agreed that this year there was a drop in attendance.
“I believe there were less faculty, it felt like there were more staff, and there were about the same number of students,” Mulholland said. “I wish more faculty members would attend in support and solidarity of the university. I wish more students would attend. I think it’s a big deal to the university community. It’s not long, it’s 45 minutes. I wish more people would take advantage and just show support for the EKU family.”
Similarly, Welch estimated that there were between 30 and 40 students that attended the service.
“There was a lot of faculty and staff there, but there weren’t a lot of students. I mean, there were some but not as many as last year. Attendance would probably be something we could work on. I know that it probably wasn’t advertised a whole lot,” Welch said.
Mulholland said that the service is meant to bring together the community and have a meaningful impact at EKU.
“I always think it would be nice to have more people there because, this is going to sound morbid, but I always think that one day, my name is going to be on there, and I would like for somebody to be there,” Mulholland said. “I just think it’s nice to show respect so I just wish more people would show up.”
Eastern Kentucky University remembers faculty, staff and students:
Bertee (Bert T.) Adkins
Ursel Doris Boyd
Janice Burdette Blythe
George Ebert Campbell, Sr.
John Leonard Flanagan, Jr.
Stella Griggs Cobb
Judy Lane Crawford
Walter Glenn Davis
Ronald Neil Doan
Jimmie Burns Murphy
Nancy Carolyn Lovett Revel
Marjorie Stewart Riley
Donald Hinslea Smith
Eldean White Wheat
Brandi Leigh Barker
Mary Lou Zielinski