By Dean Tsouvalas
While many of today’s college students were children when the September 11th terrorist attacks occurred, the memories of that horrific day ten years ago remain. This year New York University and Columbia University will be holding multi-event tributes, exhibitions, and discussions all month long to remember the victims and reflect upon how the world has changed. Students and faculty at American University in Washington DC have published numerous research findings relating to the event such as the School of Communication’s 9/11 Then and Now and Growing Up in the Shadow of 9/11 projects.
At other colleges, trees have sprouted, plaques have been mounted and scholarships established in memory of their alumni who died on September 11, 2001. Here are what some schools around the nation are doing this year to commemorate the 10th anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history:
Lafayette Student Organizes World Trade Center Remembrance Week
Shannon Moran, a Lafayette College student, is responsible for coordinating a massive effort dubbed “World Trade Center Remembrance Week” at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. The week involves numerous campus events which are open to the public, starting on Sept. 6 with an arts and music program geared to the attacks.
“I graduated with multiple students who lost parents in the attacks. Every Sept. 11, these students were not in school because they were at the services in the city,” said Moran. “Every time I drive around my town, I see the streets renamed after those who lost their lives in the attacks and am reminded. Every time I watch the news and see that more men and women are dying overseas, I am reminded.”
University of Denver Unites the Community
In addition, colleges are planning remembrance events for the 10th anniversary. One of more unusual will be “The Gathering” at the University of Denver which will celebrate a “tolerance picnic” that was held 15 days after 9-11-2001. Concerned that restaurants in Denver serving middle-eastern food were seeing a large drop off in customers after 9-11, then-Chancellor Dan Ritchie held an outdoor picnic catered by nine Denver middle-restaurants. This year, on September 12, the University of Denver will close all dining halls for lunch and will have one big group meal catered by nine restaurants specializing in middle-eastern food to mark the 10th anniversary of that event and to promote understanding and unity.
Susquehanna University to Add Piece of World Trade Center to Current Memorial
At Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA, which lost two alumni in the attacks – Colleen Supinski ’96 and Chris Vialonga ’93–the University erected and dedicated a memorial to them in October 2002. Susquehanna has obtained a 124-pound piece of debris from the World Trade Center and will add it to the memorial during a rededication ceremony that is being planned for September 11, 2011.
University of Rochester Remembers Six Alumni
The Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester dedicated a plaza in honor of two alumni, Jeffrey R. Smith and Zhe “Zack” Zeng. Smith worked for Sandler O’Neill on the 83rd floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. Zeng was an EMT who grabbed some supplies from his office at the Bank of New York and headed toward the World Trade Center after the first tower collapsed. Zeng was filmed by a TV crew, still in his business suit, administering first aid to a woman on a stretcher. Then the second tower fell. Six Rochester alumni died in the attacks that day. They will be remembered in a story in the university’s alumni magazine.
The Jeremy L. Glick memorial Scholarship at the University of Rochester honors an alumnus who was among those on Flight 93 who banded together to thwart terrorist efforts to crash the plane into the U.S. Capitol. The award goes to undergraduates who are fraternity or sorority members and who have financial need. Mr. Glick was a member of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.
Eckerd Honors Fallen Alum With Scholarship Fundraiser Golf Tournament
At Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, an alumnus who died at the World Trade Center, and who had a passion for golf, is honored with a golf tournament. Held annually since 2002, the tournament has raised more than $150,000 in funds for the Matthew T. McDermott Endowed Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded annually to one or two seniors of the men’s or women’s golf teams who have shown leadership on and off the golf course. Each year Matthew’s widow, Sue, and their three children, Kara, Kelly and Matthew Jr., come to Florida from New Jersey to participate in the tournament.
Candelight Vigil at Stonehill College
In the 9/11 attacks, three Stonehill College alumni and one Holy Cross priest died: Timothy Coughlin ’80 and Timothy Reilly ’82 worked on in the World Trade Center while James Hayden ’76 and Fr. Francis Grogan, C.S.C. were on United Flight 175. This Sunday, September 11th at 7:30 p.m., the College will hold a candlelight procession from the residence halls to the May Pavilion near the Shields Science Center for a 9/11 tenth anniversary prayer service. There will be a reading of the names of victims with a Stonehill connection and a reflection by the Vice President for Mission Paul DaPonte.
Mount Holyoke and South Hadley, Mass. Walk Together in Peace
Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., and members of neighboring towns will join together to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 with a multifaith service that will begin at the South Hadley town common and continue in Abbey Memorial Chapel on Sunday, September 11, at 3 pm. “The theme is ‘Walking Together in Peace,’ ” says Reverend Gladys Moore, dean of religious and spiritual life. “It will be about reflecting on what it means to live together in peace and compassion in a post-9/11 world.”
Pre-Game Ceremony at Baldwin-Wallace
Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio will hold a special 9/11 football-game ceremony and observance in a pre-game ceremony on campus on Saturday, September 17. (The home team plays away on 9/11). Don Delapenha is a 1985 B-W grad who played football for the college; he died in the WTC. His wife and three children will be in attendance at the game on the 17th and the kids will serve as honorary team captains for the game. The college’s president, Richard Durst will offer thoughts and remarks and there will be a moment of silence for Don and all 9/11 victims.
Interfaith Peace Ceremony at Harvey Mudd
Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., is taking part in an interfaith peace walk and rally–a combined observance with The Claremont Colleges and the city of Claremont, co-organized by the Chaplain’s Office. On Sunday, Sept. 11th, Harvey Mudd is providing small flags in the dining hall for students to plant in the grass along the central mall area on campus.
3 Days of Community Service at Wheaton College
Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., will hold an observance, a talk by 9/11 widow Cindy McGinty, and three days of community service on September 9-11. McGinty, whose husband was killed while attending a meeting in the World Trade Center, has spent the past decade working to transform the focus of September 11 from a national day of mourning to one of community building through service. On Friday, September 9, she will bring that message to Wheaton when she speaks at 12:30 p.m. in the courtyard outside of Watson Fine Arts during the college’s 9/11 Service of Remembrance. McGinty is the co-founder of My Good Deed (the original inspiration for the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance) and co-founder of the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, which supports survivors of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. She was a resident of nearby Foxboro, Mass., at the time of her husband’s death.
Is your school doing something special to memorialize the events of 9/11? Please share what’s going on at your college with us in the comments.