Every April, Islanders gather to celebrate the lives of students who died in the recent year.
The TAMU-CC student government invites the families and loved ones to gather in a special ceremony called Islander Tribute held in Lee Plaza. Organized in the 2002 by the Student Government Association (SGA), and the Division of Student Engagement and Success the ceremony recognizes and remembers students who passed away while currently enrolled in the university.
“The idea behind this ceremony is to be more of a celebration of the students lives rather than it be a continuation of the funeral,” Associate Vice President of Student Engagement and Success Ann DeGaish said. “A lot of parents aren’t really able to see who their kids are around in college so this is sort of a time for everyone who was close to the student to come together. It really becomes a healing event for them and adds some closure.”
During the ceremony, mementoes are given to the family, so they have something to remember the university by. A brick is also engraved and placed in the plaza with the name of the deceased and year in which the student was memorialized.
“This ceremony is a really important part of the campus because it recognizes what each student really contributed to our campus,” DeGaish said. “Each student has left an impact on not only the family but the Islander community as well.”
This year’s ceremony did not include a tribute to Furkan Beser, a TAMU-CC exchange student from Turkey who died in a car accident last month. According to the SGA, students who pass away after the end of February are honored the following year in order to give friends and families time to grieve privately before the tribute is held.
Beser will be honored in next year’s Islander Tribute.
Sophomore business marketing major Logan Daugherty said he thinks the ceremony is very impactful to the university.
“Although I have not had anyone pass, I think it is a great thing they are doing here,” Daugherty said. “It is pretty sad when you really think about it, but to be able to honor their lives that is a great thing and I think they would appreciate that.”
To date, Islander Tribute has honored 66 students since the 2002-2003 academic year.