April 16th Memorial Dedication Ceremony: Remarks by Joseph McFadden

April 16 Memorial Dedication Ceremony

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Joseph McFadden

President of the Graduate Student Assembly

On behalf of six-thousand Virginia Tech graduate students, I join you in honoring the Hokies remembered with this memorial dedication. This memorial is not only a symbol of the lives lost but also stands as a tribute to the fortitude of survivors and the Hokie Nation during challenging times.

A once often asked question--"What is a Hokie?"--can now be easily answered. A Hokie is a strong, compassionate individual that offers support at a moment's notice. We showed the world that our Hokie Nation extends beyond Blacksburg. It exists at our extended campuses across the commonwealth and abroad. It flourishes in the homes of our close and distant friends and family. It's found on the campuses we sometimes rival. And it even exists in the homes of people we've never met. To the families, your resilience has been remarkable and the Hokie Nation stands by you today and tomorrow.

In dedicating this memorial it is important to remember the accomplishments of 32 amazing individuals for which it stands. Each person remembered chose to pursue their education and educate others within an environment that emphasizes community engagement as a meaningful component of academic success.

These contributions include building self-esteem and confidence in young minorities, constructing homes for the needy, dedicating a life to teaching, and improving the lives of the physically disabled. These individuals were driven to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. Though the lifetime potential each person had to continue to make these noteworthy contributions to society was lost, we, as Hokies, stand here knowing we have a responsibility to fulfill their commitment to higher education and service within our own local communities and globally.

Tomorrow, hundreds, if not thousands of Hokies will cross the Drillfield. A confused freshman will stand in the middle wondering which direction leads to Torgesen Hall. An ambitious assistant professor will hustle across the field while contemplating whether or not she will obtain tenure. A graduate student will sprint across with an incomplete dissertation, ungraded examinations in hand, and a newborn child waiting at home. Administrators will debate the direction of the university while simultaneously answering e-mails on their palm pilots.

We often find the profound stresses of attending college or pursuing our careers a distraction... a distraction from the university motto--Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). This memorial, to those missed, should remind us of what the Hokie Nation is capable of achieving and what responsibilities we must fulfill. Follow the example set by our loved Hokies and step beyond Virginia Tech, share your time, share your knowledge, and you will educate yourself in addition to your community.

I now introduce Professor of Science and Technology in Society and President of the Faculty Senate Dr. Valerie Hardcastle.