Faculty, students, and staff gathered in the Memorial Church on Wednesday evening for a vigil to remember two members of the Harvard community who died in recent tragedies — Angela Mathew ’15 and a 2006 graduate of the College.
Solemnly, tearfully, and silently, the crowd of several hundred joined “in memory and in mourning.” President Drew Faust, interim Dean of Harvard College Donald Pfister, Leverett House resident Kaleigh Henry ’15, and Leverett House Master Howard Georgi offered words of reflection. Henry, who was Mathew’s friend and roommate, spoke of her beauty, poise, and smile. Pusey Minister Jonathan L. Walton asked those in attendance to sign memorial boards erected in the church. The boards will remain in place through February for others who wish to offer their thoughts.
Walton told the mourners that at times of tragedy, “We are tempted to feel that life can be devoid of meaning.”
“But I want to grant everyone permission to begin doing something tonight that can infuse meaning in these cold days and dark nights,” he continued. “I encourage you to love freely, to compliment liberally, and to hug one another unapologetically; to let those in our lives know that we love them dearly, never too consumed by the hustle and bustle to thaw frozen hearts with a kind word or a warm hug.”
As the University Choir sang, those gathered exchanged embraces and filtered together from the church into the evening.