Known for his love and support of all things tennis, and his light-hearted personality, students attended a candle lit vigil to remember Matthew McKinley Ellis, Wednesday in the Quad.
Only two days after the death of a Phi Kappa Psi member, students prayed, worshiped and remembered their favorite things about Matt and the impact he will always have on the lives he encountered. Stories were shared as candles glowed on teary-eyed faced.
In a moment where unity meant everything, Bobcats in Greek life and apart unified as a student body. In between worships songs, prayers and testimony filled the crowd.
Even in the quietist moments or between the strum of guitar strings, heavy heartbreak was heard throughout the campus body.
The crowd overflowed the uppermost part of the quad leading into the steps toward Alkek Library. Sniffling noses were buried deep into the shoulders of loved ones.
While singing songs of praise and worship, begging for understanding and peace, Ellis’ loved ones made fun of his shoes and asked for one more chance to tell him they loved him. Members of Phi Kappa Psi, locked in arms, formed a circle around the vigil. Throughout the hour, members addressed their brother.
When everyone thought the pain was the only common factor of the crowd, members of Phi Kappa Psi quickly recalled the light Ellis was. A light brighter than all candles combined, Ellis changed the course of a bad day. Ellis was courageous and he was the life of the party.
Brothers of Ellis recalled driving him home with windows down with the music blaring. More than one recalled how he would control the aux. One brother recalled how Ellis defended tennis as the most enduring physical sport. In a moment of relief, the whole crowd felt the relief that Ellis provided to so many.
They shared personal stories about how Matt had influenced their life. One member said he had only known Ellis for four months, but loved him more than people the member has known his whole life.
Right when eyes started forgetting what it was like to be dry, Maddy Fair read a letter written to the guy she had fallen in love with.
Fair recalled every text and every call Ellis and her shared. Getting every word out with pain trapped in heartbroken words, she remembered the Thursday night she fell in love with him.
Sharing with the crowed the exchange of love the couple had, Fair emphasized the character of Ellis. He was loving and he was caring. Ellis told Fair he was excited to take her home to meet his parents.
Following the powerful testimony from Fair, attenders participated in a moment of silence.
When the moment of escape had ended and the guitar stopped strumming, students let their candles blow out remembering Matthew McKinley Ellis.