New Memorial Commemorates Deceased Students
Recently, you may have noticed a set of rocks adjacent to the temporary Penn State Bookstore along your walk to the HUB. If you were to stop amidst the bustle on your way to class, you could read the plaque upon the rocks:
“For those we lost along the way. Nittany Lions Forever.”
There have been several unfortunate public deaths of our fellow Nittany Lions not only recently, but in years past. These are our classmates, our roommates, our friends, our siblings, and part of our Penn State family. Yet there doesn’t seem to be much of a dialogue stemming from these tragic events nor a means to remember those we’ve lost.
Alumnus Brenden Dooley said he and fellow alumna Suzanne Zakaria had been working on the memorial placed outside the bookstore last weekend for about a year. It all began their senior year after a student died at Penn Towers the night before a football game.
“We were talking about it at the game and it struck Suzanne — we call ourselves this big Penn State family, but we had just lost a classmate and the next day we can just go about our lives,” said Dooley.
And so the two decided that there needed to be something to commemorate our classmates who had passed away here at Penn State. “We wanted to give a presence to recognize that there are people who started this journey with us, but never ended it,” says Dooley.
After talking with the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center and Penn State OPP, they figured out a way to make it happen. Penn State Homecoming picked up the $2,500 tab to build the memorial.
“Homecoming is all about everyone coming back to celebrate past and present students. This brings you back in a different way,” Dooley said. “They say there are six degrees of separation. Well, there are only two degrees here. If you don’t know someone, your friend or your roommate does. We’re a tight community. With this memorial, parents, friends, coworkers, and peers can come back and pay remembrance.”