Officials, faculty, students gather to honor fallen Bobcats

Special to the Star

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Kitson Loerwald comforts Christina Pomeroy, criminal justice graduate student. They attended the ceremony to remember Loerwald’s daughter, Makenna, who died earlier this year.

Faculty and students held roses and lit candles at the Bobcat Pause memorial service honoring deceased members of the Texas State community Wednesday evening.

Attendees remembered members of the Bobcat community who died within the last year.  

After the convocation by public relations senior Ashton Douglas and a memorial slideshow presentation, University President Denise Trauth followed with words of comfort. Rather than centering on the aspect of loss, she highlighted a celebration of the deceased’s lives.

“The central thesis of Bobcat Pause is that everyone that has been a part of the Texas State University community has made an important contribution regardless of how long they were with us or the role they were in when they were here,” Trauth said. “We pause and we are sorrowful, but we celebrate the fact that they were a part of our community.”

Trauth said she believes Texas State’s sense of community comes from the drive of its people to come together.

Community is an aspect that plays a major role in the remembrance of late staff members like statistics professor Sally Caldwell.

Sociology lecturer Gayle Bouzard said the sense of community Caldwell created is one of the biggest impacts she left on her students.

“She would try and create community in her classes,” Bouzard said. “She referred to her students by their last name. There was certain classroom behavior that she expected. She made them feel like they were a group, that they were in this together, this pursuit of learning about statistics.”

Sociology department chair Susan Day said Caldwell’s toughness made her stand out.

“I thought of Sally as tough and daring,” Day said. “She was willing to take on projects and set goals that seemed almost impossible to me.”

The sense of persistence was another key quality of the honoring of other late staff members like computer science associate professor Khosrow Kaikhah.

As a student who used to work for Kaikhah, part-time lecturer Sally Merritt said Kaikhah’s caring nature contributed to his persistence in helping students.

“He would go out of his way to spend time with students to work on their projects and to show you the joy in computing,” Merritt said. “He would also demonstrate. He went way out of his way to show you some examples as he lectured.”

After a choir performance from a local high school carried the service, a roll call was given for the fallen members of the Texas State community. Music performance freshman Cambrey Willhelm ended the service by singing the Alma Mater.

William Campbell, director of Bobcat Pause for the Student Foundation, the organization that sponsors the event, said he thinks everyone impacted by the event is appreciative of it being held.

“They’re glad that we offer that service to our university and to our community,” Campbell said. “I think it’s just a general appreciation.”

This year marks the 27th annual memorial service, and its long duration gives it room for growth and change, Campbell said.

“The event in itself is amazing, but progress and growth is always a good thing to have,” Campbell said.