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Penn State Honors Students Lost With ‘Night of Remembrance’

Members of the student body and State College community alike gathered outside Old Main on Sunday evening for the “Night of Remembrance,” an event that commemorated the nine students who passed away within the last academic year.

Organized by the University Park Undergraduate Association, a crowd of about 50 people gathered to show its respect for those lost and support for their families.

The evening began with current UPUA President Emily McDonald speaking to the crowd, welcoming those who attended. The event organizer, Alex Shockley, then took to the Old Main steps and performed a thoughtful piece of poetry that encapsulated the mood of the evening.


The evening continued with various individuals and groups speaking to and performing for the crowd. Student a cappella group Shades of Blue performed a heartwarming rendition of “Amazing Grace,” while past UPUA president Anand Ganjam spoke and reflected back on the past year, including the troubles and turmoil that struck the campus.


Shades of Blue then returned to the steps to give a soulful version of The Beatles’ “Let It Be.”

In a powerful moment, Emily McDonald returned to the steps and repeated the phrase, “We remember them,” in hopes that the nine students that were lost this year will never be forgotten.


Shades of Blue sang once more, with its rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the “Wizard of Oz” falling over the lawn as the light of the candles circulated through the audience.

The official events of the evening commenced with a moment of silence, followed by Old Main’s bell, which rang nine times to recognize the nine students.

At the evening’s end, two members of the crowd stood and spoke about one of their friends who had passed away. The crowd then sang the Penn State Alma Mater, arm in arm, as tears flowed freely.


The students that Penn State lost this year were Moussa Abdoul, Richard Bilger, Peter Breen, Jack Crean, Darren Stafford, Joshua Mejia, Eva O’Brian, Elizabeth Smeltzer, and Tuan Vi Ma. You are missed, but never forgotten.

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About the Author

Michael Salem

Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, I am a Penn State senior majoring in print journalism with a minor in music performance. I'm a member of the Penn State Blue Band. Get at me by email [email protected], or twitter @m_salempsu

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