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CCU Atheneum: At last year's Day of Remembrance, Dean of Students Haven Hart (right) comforts a woman who lost a family member.
At last year's Day of Remembrance, Dean of Students Haven Hart (right) comforts a woman who lost a family member.

April 16: A Day to Remember

by Russell Alston
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The events that took place on April 16, 2007, on the Virginia Tech campus captured the attention of the entire globe. From that tragedy, an annual tradition was born at Coastal Carolina University.

The fifth annual Day of Remembrance Ceremony takes place at noon on Monday, April 16, in Spadoni Park, near the Graham Family Bell Tower. The Coastal Carolina Student Government Association started this event four days after the Virginia Tech tragedy as a way to commemorate the loss of lives sustained by a sister institution.

This year’s ceremony will feature some minor changes. In previous years, the bell was rung 33 times, once for each member of the Virginia Tech family killed that April day. This year, the bell will toll once for those victims, followed by a moment of silence. The nine Coastal Carolina students, faculty and staff members who passed away during the previous year will be acknowledged by a ringing of the bell as well.

Those nine individuals include:

* Former Chancellor Emeritus Edward M. ‘Dick’ Singleton, who passed away on May 12, 2011. Singleton was a consummate educator and an avid sports fan. He is best remembered for his humility, kindness and the passion he had for continual growth of Coastal Carolina. 

* Public Safety dispatcher James ‘Jim’ Farmer is described as articulate and professional by his co-workers. Employed at Coastal since 2005, the former Navy officer was also a voracious reader of science fiction novels and an artisan, creating jewelry in his free time. 

* Lisa Barboun, professor of languages at CCU where she taught for the past 16 years, was a graduate of the University of North Carolina, the University of Southern California and Florida State University. Barboun was also in the process of earning a degree in German and would even substitute in a pinch for German 110 classes. She also was taking advantage of the six free hours of classes offered to professors of Coastal. “She almost had a BA in exercise science, if only she could have found time for the internship,” says associate provost John Beard.

* Co-workers of Thomas Benedetti recall a man who enjoyed all the time he could get with his four adopted children – two sons and two daughters. When he wasn’t attending his sons’ soccer and football games or his daughters’ dance recitals, the New York native could be found, along with his wife, camping with his entire family. Benedetti was employed as a locksmith at Coastal for more than 11 years. 

The ceremony will also commemorate the lives of five Coastal Carolina students who lost their lives: 

* Kyle Rowley, 19, from Hernden, Va., had just completed his freshman year at Coastal. He is remembered for his love of music and enjoyed playing the guitar, piano and the saxophone. Rowley also loved soccer, snowboarding and skiing.

* Rae Danielle Jones, 22, of Salisbury, N.C., was a graduate of Carson High School. A senior health promotion and early childhood education major, she is described as a happy person who was always willing to lend a hand or an ear if you needed her. 

* Edward “Chip” Day, 22, from Charlotte, N.C., was a graduate of South Mecklenburg High School, where he played football and lacrosse. The senior was completing a degree in communication with a minor in journalism. Family members recall Chip as having an enormous heart, a fondness for animals and love for his friends and family. 

* Shelby S. Wooten, 19, from West Union, was a graduate of Wahalla High School and vice president of the school’s Interact Club. A member of Coastal Carolina’s 2011 Dean’s List for the spring semester, she was an elementary education major who always saw the brighter side of things, keeping her head held high and not letting anything or anyone distract her from attaining her goals.

* Shawn A. White, 19, from Columbia, was a graduate of Richland Northeast High School. At Coastal, ‘Taz’, as he was affectionately known, spent his time on the football field and the wrestling mat. Friends recall a young man who always put 100 percent of his heart into anything he set forth to accomplish, a sense of humor that allowed him to laugh at his own expense and a smile that was capable of illuminating any room he walked in to.

While they may no longer be with us, those who knew them as mother or father, son or daughter, co-worker or friend, will never forget each of these special individuals.


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