Community gather to honor those who have passed

The Lion’s Roar / Ian Fischer
Alumni, organizations and other community members attended Golden Silence on Monday, Mar. 6. The event is an annual memorial ceremony.

University family gathered outside in the Pottle Performance Circle on Monday evening to honor members of alumni, students, faculty and staff who died in the last year.

The annual gathering is called Golden Silence, and according to Director of the Alumni Association Kathy L. Pittman it has been a university tradition for 19 years. The evening’s memorial event began with Pittman and other members of the Alumni Association giving their remarks. After, the Alumni Association read out the names of the deceased followed by a moment of silence with the participants holding up candles in honor of the dead. According to Pittman, about 350 people attended the ceremony. 

“All who have passed left some contribution to the university, even if in a small way,” Pittman said during her remarks. 

Two prominent members of the alumni were among the honored. Founding member of  the Hammond Regional Arts Center and Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, Marjorie Morrison died in January. According to a press release from the Public Information Office, the former captain of the 1977 football team William Keen Jackson, III, died earlier in the year. Jackson’s wife, Sherry Jackson, is an alumna and his son currently a student at the university. 

Pittman said Golden Silence started in 1998 when three students were killed in a car accident. They came up with Golden Silence to remember to give the students closure. They included every member of the university family who died that year. It turned into a university tradition from then on.

“One of our core values is caring so that ties into what we are doing,” said Pittman. “The greeks come and we teach them about our tradition and about our caring.”

Members of Greek organizations participating in Greek Week were present at the memorial event and gave their respects to the deceased.

“I think it’s a really good way to kick off Greek Week because Greek Week is all about collaboration and coming together as a greek community,” Senior psychology major Faith Allen of Phi Mu. “I think it’s good to have new and the old to remember our past members. That’s what Greek Week is about: celebrating Greek life and celebrating who we are as Greeks.

Assistant Director of the Alumni Association Julie Perise concluded Golden Silence by singing the Alma Mater while the color guard honored the colors of the country and the university. 

All deceased members of the university alumni can be found on the Alumni Association’s “Eternal Chapter” on their section of the university website.