Pioneers Remembered ceremony becomes a new tradition to honor students, faculty and staff who have passed away in the last year
Heather Hines, Reporter
A new tradition found its way into TWU’s homecoming and reunion week this year. The Pioneers Remembered ceremony honors alumni, faculty and staff members that have passed away in the year prior to the ceremony.
The April 15 ceremony recognized 11 Pioneers that passed away in 2015; four faculty and staff members and seven students. The Office of Civility and Community Standards hosted the event.
Investigator for the Office of Civility and Community Standards Michelle Reeves stated: “Our campus is a campus of caring, we develop personal relationships and a lot of times we go the extra mile, and so beginning this ceremony just seemed like a natural extension of that.”
The ceremony opened with a flute solo from graduate teaching assistant Kristen Guerra from TWU’s Music Department and opening remarks by Executive Director of the Office of Civility and Community Standards Kyle Voyles.
President and Chancellor Dr. Carine Feyten spoke about the universities’ hope for this new tradition. Dr. Feyton reminded everyone even though this was a time of mourning: “This is also a time when peace can settle over our hearts.”
President of the Student Government Association, Fatime Osmani, and President of the Graduate student council, Julia Besser, called the names of students who have passed away; Connie Burnett, Kevin Cao, Scott McDonald, Caroline Merritt, Chaz Rollins, Krista Sharp and Brenna Taylor. After each name a family member or friend placed a red rose into a large bouquet of white flowers. Reeves then called the names of the late staff members, Sherry Driggers and Susan Ferbend, and Professor Lizabeth Spoonts, from the Dental Hygiene Department, called the names of faculty members no longer with us, Dr. Loretta Albright and Dr. Nora L. White.
Reeves shared: “Once you are a part of TWU, you are a part of TWU throughout your life span. You’re a part of it when you’re a student and when you become an alumni. You’re a part of it if you have family that attends here. Even if you didn’t directly attend here, we still consider the impact that that person made, even after they passed away.”