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Family, friends join Gee at memorial service to remember students

Rachel Remy / Lantern reporter

Many tears were shed for deceased loved ones at the annual memorial service held for Ohio State students who have passed away this school year.

The service was held at the Ohio Union’s Interfaith Room on Thursday to honor the 18 students that passed away during the academic year. President E. Gordon Gee and Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for the Office of Student Life, told family, friends and the OSU community that the students will always be remembered as Buckeyes.

Gee said all the deceased students had one common experience – they knew what it was like to be a Buckeye.

“They are and will surely always remain a piece of us – the Ohio State community,” Gee said. “I thank you for the gift of these remarkable students. They will forever remain in our hearts.”

The theme of the memorial service was “Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye.” Adams-Gaston said the service is a time during the year when the OSU community comes together to grieve and remember.

“In the hurried world we sometimes forget … to grieve and connect,” Adams-Gaston said. “They are missed and remembered by this Ohio State community.”

Before the memorial service, the Interfaith Association displayed candles, potted plants and a remembrance board in the lobby of the Union so students could have an opportunity to interact with the remembrance service. Chris Kauffman, part of the Interfaith Association, said students were able to sign the board to honor the deceased students. The candles, potted plants and remembrance board were moved to the Interfaith Room before the memorial service started. At the end of the service, family members were encouraged to light candles to honor the deceased.

The Office of Student Life, the Student Advocacy Center, the Union, the Office of Parent and Family Relations and the Interfaith Association sponsored the service. Karen Kyle, director of the Student Advocacy Center, said about half the families of the deceased students attended the service.

“I felt it went well. I thought it was meaningful to the family and friends,” Kyle said.

Family, friends and the OSU community were invited to attended the service. The seats quickly filled up and many attendees had to stand at the back and along the sides of the room during the service. There were at least 150 people in attendance.

Kauffman said the families and friends brought many supporters to the service this year, which made it the largest attendance he has ever seen.

“This is the highest attendance we have had at this event,” Kauffman said.

The collaboration between the sponsors and students made the memorial service the best Kauffman has ever experienced, he said. Kauffman said the service is especially important for the family, friends and OSU community so they can have an opportunity to grieve and find closure.

“To have Gee and Adams-Gaston speak is really important for the families,” Kauffman said. “(The memorial service) is really meaningful and a significant part of campus.”

Members of the Buckeye Electric Motorcycle Race Team attended to remember Ryan Williams, a fourth-year in engineering, who died in a motorcycle accident April 14.

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