COVID memorial ornaments campus

By: Joseph Cotton, Campus News Editor & Erin Albright, Staff Writer

The university erected a memorial on the Xavier Yard last week, near St. Francis Way, to memorialize the members of the community who have passed away during the pandemic.  

The memorial was constructed to honor and celebrate those community members who have died within the past year because of complications with COVID-19 or for another reason. It also remembers the extended Xavier family — the friends and family of Xavier faculty, staff and students — who have passed away. As of today, more than 100 names have been added to the memorial. 

The memorial is marked by a sign which reads: “In loving memory of family and friends of Xavier University who have died during the coronavirus pandemic. The Xavier community and Jesuits in the Cincinnati area continue to pray for our loved ones who have died.” Metal hearts surrounding the sign symbolize those who have passed. 

Xavier students have expressed appreciation for the memorial and what it symbolizes.

“(The memorial) speaks to our Jesuit value of solidarity,” junior Philosophy, Politics and the Public major Danielle Boling said. “I think it’s more than just a nice gesture. It not only remembers the people who have passed but shows the support that the Xavier community has.”

Boling also noted how COVID-19 has impacted the grief and emotional turmoil of losing a loved one.. 

“The grieving process is definitely shaped by (COVID-19),” Boling said. “We’ve all lost someone during this time and it’s hard when you can’t be around people. It adds another layer of stress.”  

Senior biology major Alex Vincze explained that the memorial is a meaningful tribute to the pandemic era, but hoped that the campus will devote a more permanent structure to the space in the future. With the growing toll COVID-19 takes on the community, he believes there is a need for further memorialization in order to help the community heal. 

Other students voiced that the memorial’s placement deters full appreciation from the community.

“I feel like it’s kind of insignificant. They put it on the part of the campus where literally nobody goes. I think they should have moved it and put it over near Bellarmine or over by Gallagher Student Center. It’s not really noticeable,” first-year exercise science major Morgan Schenkel noticed. The full list of names in memoriam is available on the Xavier website, and members of the community can request to add a name to the list here.