Inside Paris-Yates Chapel, under cloudless skies, the Ole Miss community gathered to memorialize the students, faculty and staff that the community has lost over the past year, alongside their family and friends.
The ceremony is held yearly and marked by a solemn but beautiful atmosphere. In the afternoon light, softened and colored by the stained-glass windows, opening remarks were given by Chancellor Glenn Boyce, and closing remarks were given by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Noel Wilkin.
Associated Student Body President Lila Osman, Staff Council President-elect Deetra Wiley and Faculty Senate Chair Daniel Durkin read the names of those being remembered. Representatives from each of the families were invited to the front of the chapel after their loved one’s name was read.
“Whether you use the ‘Ole Miss family’ descriptor that we commonly affiliate with this university or not, we cannot deny the incredible bonds that we feel to each other in this community,” Wilkin said. “We challenge each other, laugh together, cry together, create new knowledge, discover new phenomena and advance perspectives through our creativity. Today, we honor and celebrate those who help us in these pursuits. They’re no longer with us in body but their spirits, their energy, their love for us and ours for them goes on.”
After remarks from Wilkin, the Paris-Yates Chapel bell was rung — 26 tolls for the 26 lives being honored that afternoon:
Alexis “Lexi” Bosarge
Maggie “Kenya” Keller
Ann Caroline McIntosh
William “Bill” Luckett Jr.
Beneath those same bells, friends, family and community members exited the chapel, crossing a slab of granite on which it is engraved a line from one of poet John Donne’s most famous poems:
“Each man’s death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”