Student Memorial Corner Dedicated

By Barbara Melendez



TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2010) – The occasion was bittersweet as nearly any remembrance of loss is.  A new student memorial was unveiled at the University of South Florida Tuesday afternoon.  USF’s Board of Trustees Chair Rhea Law, President Judy Genshaft,  Student Affairs Vice President Jennifer Meningall and Dean of Students Kevin Banks joined USF Student Body President Juan Carlos Soltero in welcoming approximately 70 guests made up of family members and friends as well as students, faculty and staff for the ceremony. 


Cassandra Hanjian, associate director of Student Government’s Department of University and Community Affairs, served as host, President Genshaft made the opening remarks followed by brief comments from Soltero and Andrew Cohen, director of Student Government’s Department of University and Community Affairs, and one of the leading forces behind the success of this initiative.


After the speeches, those in attendance walked from a nearby canopied reception area in MLK Plaza to the Student Memorial Corner, as it is now known.  Located between the Bulls Fountains and the USF Bookstore, it is an enduring tribute to the lives of USF students who passed away.   


Some brought flowers to place with the wreath that marks the area behind a permanent marker which reads:  The University of South Florida Student Memorial Corner was dedicated in January 2010 in memory of those USF students who passed away while enrolled at the university.  May this be a place for all students to reflect upon the precious gift of life and to remember their fellow classmates whose lives ended far too soon.


As the ceremony came to an end, there were tears, hugs and smiles among the small groups of people who came to take part in the dedication – some taking pictures of the small engraved pavers. 


One large paver reads, “In memory of all students who passed away while enrolled at the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida from 1960 to 2008.”  Next to it are eleven smaller ones with individual names belonging to students who died this past academic year: Wendy Bellar, Michelle Couron, Catherine Hernandez, Darren Rordam, Samuel Butler, Ashley Quarles, John Emory Seago, Michelle Vargas, Aly Lakdawala, Blanca Saenz, and Natalie Dumbaugh.


In the future, a ceremony will be held for each individual student within 10 days of their passing as long it is the wish of the family to do so.  There are no limits on which students’ names will be included.   




-- Photos by Joseph Gamble, University Communications & Marketing




The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.