UC Berkeley holds memorial for community members who died this year

Zach Ryan/Staff

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The Campanile’s bells rang as usual Monday afternoon, but carillonist John Jeffrey Davis was playing for a special reason.

About 200 UC Berkeley community members gathered together outside California Hall to remember the 57 members of the campus community who died in the last year, including two students who were killed in terrorist attacks abroad.

Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol Christ officiated the ceremony, speaking to the importance of the campus community’s collective mourning.

“I know how it feels to have a hole in your heart,” Christ said during her opening remarks, referring to the death of her husband. “But there’s comfort in grieving together.”

Nicolas Leslie, a UC Berkeley junior, died in July in the Nice terrorist attacks. Tarishi Jain, a campus sophomore, also died in a terrorist attack on a cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh, while participating in an internship with UC Berkeley’s Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies.

Jasmine Schatz, a former classmate of Leslie, said she appreciated having a space to remember his life.

“When a young person dies it seems to reverse the order of nature,” Christ said. “It doesn’t seem right.”

The first campuswide memorial began after a UC Berkeley alumnus died on the hijacked flight that crashed in a Pennsylvania field Sept. 11, 2001, according to Janette Reid, retired campus staff member.

The memorial also remembered the lives of all members of the campus community, including professors emeriti, faculty and staff members, who died this year. Although campus alumni were not mentioned by name, Christ said in her opening remarks that they were still remembered as part of the campus community.

“I’m here to honor them for the stellar individuals I knew them to be and to honor the important legacy they pass on to the special generation here on campus,” said Ron Gronsky, a campus professor emeritus who memorialized six of his colleagues at the event.

Campus professor Dana Buntrock attended the ceremony to remember her colleague Joonhong Ahn, whom she admired for his efforts to address nuclear safety in Japan and Korea.

In a Sept. 2 campuswide email, all members of the campus community were invited to attend the event. While some attendees had no personal connection to those who had died, they believed it was still important to participate in the memorial.

“I think it’s very important that we as a community support the losses of those around us even if we didn’t personally know anyone,” said Richard Lee, a UC Berkeley junior.

The names of those who had died were read during the ceremony, with musical interludes from the a cappella group Perfect Fifth, cellist quartet [email protected] and vocalist Chase Atiga, a campus senior.

The event, which was organized by campus CARE Services, concluded with the release of several white doves as a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace.”

When the ceremony concluded, attendees stood in line to lay purple irises and other items, including a teddy bear, at the base of the flagpole, which had flown at half-mast for the duration of the ceremony.

ASUC President Will Morrow, who read the names of undergraduates who had died, called the memorial “absolutely beautiful.”

“The ceremony provides a space to come together to remember the valuable members of our community,” Morrow said. “It’s easy to remember that they are still with us.”

Academic & faculty
Joonhong Ahn, Nuclear Engineering
Thomas Alber, Molecular and Cell Biology
David Dornfeld, Mechanical Engineering
Paul Grabowicz, Journalism
Dwight Jaffee, Haas School of Business
Murray Millet, Extension
M. (Mary) Kathryn Scott, Physical Education
Edward Stack, Celtic Studies

John Kinloch Anderson, Classics
Seymour Chatman, Rhetoric, Film & Media
Diane Shaver Clemens, History
R. (Roger) David Cole, Molecular and Cell Biology
Elizabeth Colson, Anthropology
Eugene Commins, Physics
William Craig, Philosophy
Lawrence Davis, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Stephen Diliberto, Mathematics
Donald Foley, City & Regional Planning
Walter Jackson Freeman, III, Molecular and Cell Biology
Robert Hartman, Art Practice
John Hurst, Education
John David Jackson, Physics
Stanley Mandelstam, Physics
Miles Myers, Education
Nicolas Perella, Italian Studies
Chittoor Ramamoorthy, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
William Rohwer Jr., Education
Kalanadh V. S. Sastry, Materials Science and Engineering
Howard Schachman, Molecular and Cell Biology
Howard Shugart, Physics
Hyron Spinrad, Astronomy
Robert Wiegel, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Arkady Alexeev, Slavic Languages & Literatures
Maria Beltran-Barker, University Health Services
Lonnie Booker, Office of Laboratory Animal Care
Charles (Chuck) Brien, EECS
Michele Castillo, Campus Shared Services
Patrick Fay, Cal Dining
Harvey Jackson, Natural Resources
Martin Lopez, Optometry
Laura Murphy, Quantitative Biosciences
Penny Parker, Optometry
Erica Pederson, Molecular and Cell Biology
Alfred Ram, Mail Services
Adrienne Ruff, EERCG Research Recharge
Farnaz Stosik, Campus Shared Services
Aimee Tabor, Engineering Research Centers

Graduate students
Timothy Campbell, EECS
Hussain Nasser, History

Undergraduate students
Christopher Cosby, Letters and Sciences
Tim Pieter Hendrik Vorenkamp, Letters and Sciences
Tarishi Jain, Letters and Sciences
Nicolas Leslie, Natural Resources
Hanaa Omaya Manal Djouider, Letters and Sciences
Alejandra Martinez, Letter and Sciences
Miguel Martinez, Letters and Sciences
Evan Niizawa, Chemistry
Nandan Sathyanarayana, Chemistry
Sara Seacat, Natural Resources

Contact Patricia Serpa and Camille Hausken at [email protected].