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Thursday, March 31, 2016

A moment to be grateful for

On March 30, 2015, five first-year students were involved in a car accident near campus. Four were hospitalized with a range of injuries. Corey Byrnes died at the scene. A year later, Trinity University paused to recognize the one year anniversary of this tragic day, and dedicate a bench in Corey's honor. The site was selected by his friends near their residence, Calvert Hall. Here are excerpts from the remarks and a video of the fairly brief but moving ceremony is included in this post. (Video by Tim Zhang.)

Dean of Students, David Tuttle
Unfortunately, we have lost students and young alumni before. If you walk this campus you will see their memorials. For all of these young people, their friends and families felt it was important to have a market, somewhere here, that expressed that these young people lived here, learned here, studied here, played here, and mattered here. What an incredible honor it is for us as a campus to celebrate their lives in these tangible memorials that reflect how much they mattered to us too. When we pass this spot and when you come back to visit as alumni, you will reflect on Corey, and his life, and your grief, and how they are inseparable and permanent.

Class of 2018 Alumni Sponsor - Leni Kirkman
I don't want to stand here putting words in the mouth of your dear friend Corey - but I'm pretty sure he's left us a good recipe for living. Putting aside the pains of the past, and our worries for the future - and finding happiness in the present: Easy to say, much harder to do - but I think that is what I will try to do each time I come sit on Corey's bench.

Chaplin, Stephen Nickle
March 30, 2016
We gather on this anniversary of his death feeling a mixture of sadness and glad memories. We gather to dedicate this bench in Corey's memory, to mark in an explicit way our gladness at having journeyed a piece with him, and our sadness at his death. Lord, this memorial bench created a space of rest and encounter: of shared laughter, of honest argument, or trusting vulnerability -- all of which were precious to those who knew Corey, all of which are precious to each of us in many other friendships.

Class of 2018 Class Marshal, Jennifer Henderson
Corey was a student in my first year seminar course - a course on Women and Technology in Media. This is a course he didn't really expect to be taking, but one he was game to dive into. I can see Corey on the left side of the classroom, five seats down. I can see him raising his hand anytime we talked about video games or movies. When I remember Corey, all of the snapshots are of him laughing. Laughing with his friends. Laughing at my inability to get the computer projector to work...again. Laughing at himself. Corey laughed a lot. He laughed easily and sometimes for not outward reason at all.

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