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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Alumni

UH honors hundreds of late community members on Day of Remembrance


President Renu Khator and other speakers reflected on the legacies and contributions that the hundreds of late UH community members left behind at the University and beyond. | File photo

President Renu Khator and other speakers reflected on the legacies and contributions that the hundreds of late UH community members left behind at the University and beyond. | File photo

Classical piano music, the glow of memorial candles and light that peered in through large chapel windows filled the A.D. Bruce Religion Center as mourners of late UH community members took their seats.

The annual UH Remembrance Day on Tuesday honored the lives of 629 UH students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who died in the last year.

“This is a good time for us to come to a stop, to pause, to unbusy our lives, to remember the people that have been loved,” said Brooks Harwood, president of the Campus Ministries Association.

Packages of tissues lined the pews as mourners listened to Harwood discuss what it means to lose a loved one.

“No matter where you’re coming from or what faith you have or what perspective you have about death — the important thing is that we’re here, and we can cry together,” Harwood said. “We can be sad over the death of people that we love.”

President Renu Khator reflected on the legacies and contributions that the late UH community members left behind at the University and beyond. She then read the poem “They Say There is a Reason.”

Khator said although these individuals have already been mourned by their loved ones, the Day of Remembrance gathering provides an opportunity for solidarity.

“Today, as we come to remember, we find comfort in the knowledge that each of them was and continues to be a treasured member of the extended Cougar family,” Khator said.

Four candles stood on a podium at the front of the chapel to honor each group of the UH community members lost: students, faculty, staff, and alumni and special friends. Khator said each individual brought a legacy of service and support for the University that has shaped its collective history.

“These candles symbolize their spirit and the light they brought to our classrooms and labs, to our offices to our communities and also for the light, joy and happiness they brought to their friends and loved ones,” Khator said.

Community members of the University that represented each remembered group were invited to stand up and light each of the candles, as a statement of honor was said about each entity.

“For students whose efforts here give us hope for their future, we honor them,” Harwood said. “For faculty members who tirelessly devoted themselves to serving their students, we honor them. For staff that provide countless services so that our students and faculty can flourish, we honor them. For alumni and friends who support and represent UH worldwide, we honor them.”

A pamphlet filled with prayer passages across a variety of faiths was offered to guests. Attendees were also welcome to participate in a responsive reading that focused on always remembering one’s late loved ones and the power of carrying on their legacy.

After a piano performance, 27 bell tolls to represent the year UH was founded, closing words and a collective singing of the alma mater the ceremony concluded. 

“Each and every one of them will be missed, and each and every one of them will live always in our hearts,” Khator said.

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