As the Class of 2012 celebrates graduation on the National Mall next month, there will be four Colonials missing from the procession.
Taylor Hubbard, Benjamin Gupta, Jennifer Gonzalez Perdomo and Ismail Ginwala would have graduated May 20, but there is still a chance to honor their memories at Commencement.
The University should start an annual tradition of placing a white chair at the front line of the University-wide Commencement for each deceased student during the year he or she would have graduated.
Already, the University recognizes student deaths with memorial ceremonies and candlelight vigils, bringing together friends and family to mourn losses and share stories, but starting the tradition of placing white chairs for lost Colonials at graduation is a way to pay tribute to both the memory of the students as well as their academic accomplishments.
This memorial would be in addition to the wooden plaque on the ground floor of the Marvin Center that honors Colonials who died during their time at GW. The right-most panel has rows of empty plaques – an eerie anticipation of losses to come.
But you might not have seen the plaque, because it is tucked away under an exit sign in a dimly lit hallway between the GW Bookstore and the WRGW offices.
The spot is hardly the place for an homage to community members who are no longer with us.
A series of plaques similar to the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, which prominently rests in the Marvin Center, would serve as a more appropriate marker for students who have died. Kogan Plaza may also be a more visible location.
The plaque has an aging, neglected look and it is not a fitting way to honor the memory of those students who are no longer with us.
GW highlights the achievements of its graduates who go on to do great things, but for those students whose contribution to society will forever remain unknown, there should be a more notable way for the University to show respect.