At Vigil on the Green, Honoring the Memory of Four Students

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Students shared their thoughts about their classmates who died this academic year.

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About a thousand members of the Dartmouth community gathered on the Green for a candlelight vigil in memory of the four undergraduates who died this academic year.
About a thousand members of the Dartmouth community gathered on the Green for a candlelight vigil in memory of the four undergraduates who died this academic year. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)
5/26/2021
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A nearly full moon rose over the Green as more than 1,000 members of the Dartmouth community gathered Tuesday evening to remember the four undergraduates who have died this academic year.

Friends of Beau DuBray ’24, Lamees Kareem ’22, Elizabeth Reimer ’24, and Connor Tiffany ’24 spoke at the somber candlelight vigil about their late classmates, recalling their warmth, friendship, intelligence, and good humor.

The vigil capped an outpouring of sorrow in the past week following Reimer’s death on May 19 at her home in Holtsville, N.Y. Her passing came after Kareem’s death last month, Tiffany’s death in March, and DuBray’s death in November.

“Four precious lives, four bright lights, were lost way too soon,” President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 told those gathered on the Green. “To see the dreams of these students go unfulfilled just seems like too great a loss to bear. So that’s why we need each other, to draw strength from our community and see light in these dark times.”

Also remembered was George Floyd on the one-year anniversary of his murder in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer.

“We recognize the pandemic of racial injustice, the pandemic of pestilence that has continued to stalk our world for well over a year,” said Anthony Fosu ’24. “We take this moment together in steadfast resilience and we take this moment as a community, in quiet, together, for our classmates, for our friends, to honor their memory in our hearts.”

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Candles were lit as the flame was passed by hand to those attending the vigil.
Candles were lit as the flame was passed by hand to those attending the vigil. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

David Katz ’24 remembered Reimer, his best friend, whom he called “indescribably wonderful.”

“I wanted her to meet so many people that I loved and that I knew she would love,” he said, saddened that “many of you won’t get to love Elizabeth the way I did.”

Jonathan Cartwright ’24 said DuBray was “a beautiful person.”

“We all miss you so much, Beau,” he said. “Your heart was big. I remember thinking about how selfless and thoughtful you were. … You changed me Beau. You changed all of us.”

Francesca Wood ’22 said Kareem “felt like home at Dartmouth. She was my rock.”

“It was so great to have the person that you just know gets you,” she said. “She was clearly incredibly smart, always setting high standards for her own academic and professional goals. I’m confident that she would have ended up running the World Bank and making it a better place.”

Jack Heaphy ’24 said Tiffany was the first person he met at Dartmouth. “There was a certain light in his eyes that was incomparable to anything I’d ever witnessed. His focus evolved in the short time that I knew him, but the fire remained intact,” Heaphy said. “Dartmouth is not the same without his voice, his mind, his love.”

“Love never goes away, even if the person attached to it does. And Connor remains a part of all of us,” said his friend Eleanor Schifino ’24.

The Rockapellas a cappella group sang the song Testimony as light from a single candle on the stage was passed to the student speakers and then hand-to-hand through the large gathering, lighting the Green as twilight faded.

In closing, College Chaplain Daveen Litwin told the crowd, “Tonight, we needed to be together to carry forward the light and love of those we remember in the way we best choose to live our lives and care for one another.”

“Take with you these moments of stillness and caring,” she said.

With that, the crowd sat silently but for muffled sobs as the candles burned down and the Baker Tower bells tolled five times before fading into a gentle requiem.

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The Dartmouth College Health Service Counseling Center offers 24-hour crisis mental health services for enrolled students or for those concerned about an enrolled student. Find out about this and other resources available to all students. Dartmouth employees can seek assistance through the Faculty/Employee Assistance Program.

Dartmouth last week announced new mental health services, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, extensions on end-of-term options for undergraduates who are struggling, and a partnership with a nonprofit founding that promotes suicide prevention and emotional health.

Susan J. Boutwell can be reached at susan.j.boutwell@dartmouth.edu.

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Susan J. Boutwell