Within the last four years of their college careers, the senior class has experienced the loss of two peers, Paul Lee and Erin Kimminau.
According to ASSP President and junior physiology major Lola Sosanya, the senior gift will work to commemorate the lives of these two individuals.
Students and faculty are currently working to create a permanent memorial in honor of Paul Lee and those affected by the incident that took his life — the June 5, 2014 campus shooting.
Kimminau, who lost her life in a car accident when driving home from a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Montana, will be honored through an endowment supported by her parents that will provide scholarships to students involved in social justice.
Sosanya helped in directing the senior gift committee as they congregated, and says that the seven- member committee had to tread lightly on the heavy subject.
“From the conversations that I’ve had with some of the seniors, this has been on their hearts for the past three years,” she said.
Given those conversations, Sosanya believes that the memorials will play a role in the long healing process for the senior class.
“This is something that has been anticipated, that has been requested, for quite a long time,” she said.
Sosanya appointed two co-chairs to help lead the senior gift committee: seniors Emma Hewett and Felicia Perez.
“Our biggest problem was that so many people wanted to be involved,” Hewett said describing the process of deciding the gift.
After one day of fundraising, financial support tripled among other classes at SPU.
“The process is a lot easier when you have a community that is just waiting to give you their support,” Hewett said.
The committee has been working on the project since January. According to Perez, there aren’t any set monetary goals in mind regarding both the gifts.
“For [Lee], the details of the installation are still in the works and the cost will depend on the materials chosen, so we do not have a specific dollar amount needed at this time,” Perez said in an email. “For [Kimminau], the dollar amount needed to start the endowment has already been pledged, but we are raising funds that will go toward increasing the endowment for an even greater impact. With both gifts, we are just encouraging students to give.”
Hewett has high hopes for the memorials.
“I believe that those who were affected by the violence that occurred on June 5 seek this installation as a place of refuge and strength and to remember that there is beauty from brokenness,” Hewett said.
Hewett encourages students and faculty to see the gifts as a reflection of life, and she hopes that the community will continue its support in honoring the lives of the two students lost.
“As for [Kimminau]’s gift, I hope the community responds in respect of [Kimminau]’s devotion to serving others and will willingly pursue support for her endowment for the two scholarships,” she said.
You can go to give.spu.edu to donate and support these memorials.