In September 2018, Zachary Hoefler, who would have been a sophomore this year, died from complications due to a brain tumor. Today, his memory and those of all Ole Miss students, employees and faculty who died in the past year were honored at a memorial service in Paris-Yates Chapel.
Zach Colby, Hoefler’s fraternity brother, represented Hoefler’s family at the service. Colby said he was glad that the university cares about its students enough to honor them in this way.
“It’s good for the campus to come together and do something like this,” he said. “Because, even though it was almost four months ago now, it’s good to keep the people that we lost in our minds and in our prayers.”
In addition to Hoefler, the service honored staff members Russell S. Buchholz, Michael Scott Monaghan, Sandra Phillips, Agnes Rimando, Timothy Lynn Warren and Kenneth L. Wooten; faculty and retired faculty Edward Capps III, Theodore Klingen, Anne Marie Liles and F. Douglas Shields; and students Hailey Fox, Paul Hackett, Sesilia Keban and Rebecca Rhodes.
As each person’s name was called, the family and friends of the deceased placed a white flower in a glass bowl in remembrance of the individual.
The annual event, started by former Chancellor Robert Khayat in 2008, is held on the final Thursday of each spring semester to reflect on the students, employees and faculty that the community has lost in the past year.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Brandi Hephner LaBanc said continuing the memories of those who have died during their time at Ole Miss is important to the campus community.
“We will carry the memories of those that left us too early while carrying their memories with us,” she said.
LaBanc said it is important for the university to host the annual memorial event to remember the contributions of each individual person and to bring together the Ole Miss family by celebrating, as a community, the lives of those who have died.
The university string quartet played musical accompaniment for the service, with classical selections from Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi, and it concluded the service by playing a rendition of the alma mater.
University Staff Council President Gazel Giles welcomed the families of the staff members memorialized, and Faculty Senate Chair Bryce Noonan and newly-elected Associated Student Body President Barron Mayfield called forward the families of the faculty and students, respectively. After each family came forward, the Paris-Yates Chapel bells tolled for those remembered.
Chad Gutierrez, a member of the Ole Miss Columns Society, which helped to escort families and coordinate the event, said that the memorial service helps the university to move forward.
“It’s just great to see the university come together to remember those that we’ve lost,” Gutierrez said, “And to see the bright future that we have going forward.”