When a community loses some of its own, memorializing those individuals can be an important part of honoring them.
USF is honoring the legacy of students who have passed away with a new student memorial located on Crescent Hill behind the Marshall Student Center, which will be officially unveiled at the ribbon cutting ceremony this morning at 10 a.m.
The project, which took a year from conception to completion, initially began as the idea for a veteran’s memorial, separate from a student memorial. It evolved into a comprehensive concept to include all students and replace the current brick memorial located next to the bull statues in front of the Marshall Student Center.
“If you are a parent, a friend, or family of a student that has passed away, having a brick that’s on the ground that skateboarders go on, that ants are on and that’s cracked is not the proper way to honor students that have passed away during their time at USF,” said Abdool Aziz, student government senate president pro-tempore. “We, as a university and Student Government, knew we could do better.”
Following the ground breaking ceremony in April, construction on the memorial began in August.
Inspired by the Vietnam memorial in Washington D.C., the student memorial includes symbolic elements to honor those who have passed away.
“The significance of the water is life, which flows from a fountain into a reflection pool to create a serene and calming atmosphere that if students and families want to contemplate and think they have that space,” Aziz said.
While records have not been kept on student deaths prior to 2009, a single inscription will honor those who passed away between 1960 and 2009. Every student who has passed away since 2009 will have an inscription and veterans will be indicated by a star.
The Crescent Hill location was chosen after reviewing the university’s master plan because there would be no future plans to build on the area and it provided optimal potential for future expansion.
Student Government paid $349,800 for the memorial, which was funded through student Activity and Service fees.
In addition to the physical memorial, a student memorial committee was created to ensure the upkeep of the site, which is designed to endure for 50 years, and determine the eligibility of students to be inscribed on the memorial.
Today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, which will honor those who passed away between 2009 and 2013, will include the ROTC color guard and a number of speakers, including Sandy Lovins, vice president for administrative services, and USF president Judy Genshaft.
Lovins will be speaking about the collaboration between students and administration, and Genshaft will speak on the influence of the university.
A separate ceremony in January will honor those who have passed away in 2014.
“This project is very historic and is a model for other student memorials around the country,” Aziz said. “It’s an example of a complete and comprehensive way for universities to build student