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Raven's Call To Pay Tribute To 21 Lost Bearkats

March 11, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
Story By: Amy Barnett

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students gathered around the campus clock tower releasing orange balloons
Raven's Call attendees participate in the traditional balloon release during last year's ceremony. —Photo by Brian Blalock


The Orange Keys Student Ambassadors will help Sam Houston State University say “goodbye” to those lost over the past year during the third annual Raven’s Call on April 4 at noon in front of the Ron and Ruth Blatchley Bell Tower.

Raven's Call is an annual memorial service that honors and celebrates the lives of students, faculty, staff and retired faculty and staff who have passed away within the previous year.

This year’s memorial service will feature photographs of the 13 faculty and staff and eight students who lost their lives in 2013 and early 2014. Students and faculty can view portraits of each honoree, along with written biographies, two weeks prior to the event in the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery. The portraits will remain on display from March 24 to April 4.

Raven’s Call
2014 Honorees

Eric Alejandro Avila
Daniel Dodds
Blanca Espinal
Dalton Humphrey
Alfonso Mata
Andrew Polk
John Shreves
Eric Torres

Leroy Ashorn
Eva Strickler

Retired Faculty/Staff
Walter Bennett
Richard Butler
James Chandler
Oscar Hall
William Powell
Jimmie Rhodes
Solomon Schneider
Alba Sutterfield
George Vick
Betty Waldron
Dennis Williams

During the ceremony, SHSU President Dana Gibson, along with Orange Keys president Lauren Fenn and Raven’s Call chair Meagen Morrison, will speak, followed by Dean of Students John Yarabeck, who will read the names of the honorees.

Soloist Lindsey Fuson will perform “Amazing Grace” and the alma mater, and participants will take part in the traditional balloon release.

“The balloon release is something people really love. It’s a great moment for everyone to experience together. It is very symbolic,” said Chelsea Smith, assistant dean of students for parent relations and special programs. Smith is also the Orange Keys adviser.

In 2012, student and faculty-based committees came together to create the first memorial service. The event's official hosts are the Orange Keys, a group of students who represent, among others, the Office of the President and the Texas State University System Board of Regents.

“Raven’s Call is very important because these students and faculty interact with each other all year long for four years or more, and we get to know and love the faculty, staff and students and they get to know and love each other. So when one of them passes away, it impacts the university and entire community,” Smith said.

While Raven’s Call is becoming a tradition at Sam Houston, Smith hopes it will one day be part of the core existence of SHSU; something people count on every year and associate with SHSU as they do the Tree of Light ceremony and Battle of the Piney Woods.

“We want this to be at that level of tradition, with that type of respect. We want professors to encourage their students to attend and even go with their classes at that time,” Smith said. “It’s only 30 minutes long, and it’s truly something special.”

For more information about Raven’s Call, contact the Dean of Students’ Office at doso@shsu.edu.



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