Gone but never forgotten

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Photo by Dallas Linger | The Appalachian

Nicole Caporaso

University honors students who have passed away while attending Appalachian in memorial program

A student memorial program titled Always a Mountaineer was held Saturday morning in the B.B. Dougherty Administration Building for Appalachian State University students who have passed away.

Members of Appalachian’s faculty, staff, students and family and friends of the students being honored were present. There were about 100 attendees.

“Our student memorial program provides us with the time to come together to share and remember those who passed away – all of our students at Appalachian,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “Although this is the first time I am participating in this memorial event for our students, I am keenly aware of its significance at Appalachian and its importance to us in this room.”

J.J. Brown, dean of students, read off the list of 121 students being remembered and honored in alphabetical order. Prior to the event, various family members of those being remembered submitted heartfelt stories or comments to be read along with their son or daughter’s name.

Family members present at the memorial were given a rose from the university as the names were being read.

Barbara Daye, dean of students emeritus, said the university started this memorial program in 1991.

Daye provided the history of the concept of the Appalachian family. She said during William Howard Plemmons’ initiation speech in becoming the university’s second president in 1955, he said “we’re the Appalachian family.”

Daye said from then forward, she knew that Appalachian was more than a university.

“We celebrate together, we mourn together and we care,” she said. “And those are the things that I think are so important about this Appalachian family.”

After all 121 students were honored, Susie Greene, a retired dean of students provided a final reflection in the form of a prayer asking for strength in times of grieving.
Brown, who has now taken part in five memorial ceremonies with the university, ended the ceremony with closing statements.

“I hope you know that every one of your loved ones will continue to be a part of this family, this community, and they will always be Mountaineers,” Brown said. “May we take these moments we’ve had with these Mountaineers and always cherish them in our hearts.”

The university has developed a website, www.always.appstate.edu, that allows family members and friends of the students who passed away to post pictures and write comments or stories about their loved ones.

Story: Nicole Caporaso, News Reporter