Memorial service will recognize recent passings

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs

Remembering those we've lost: List of members of the campus community who died between July 1, 2001 and Sept. 22, 2002

11 September 2002 | The university will soon hold its first campuswide memorial in honor of Berkeley students, staff, and faculty who have died during the past year.

The Monday, Sept. 23, event will take place between 12:10 and 12:50 p.m. near the flagpole on the west side of California Hall.

Fifty-one members of the campus community — including 19 emeriti, 7 faculty, 14 staff, 2 staff retirees, 7 undergraduates, and 2 graduate students — will be remembered.

“This is a way for us to come together as a campus to recognize the members of our community whom we’ve lost,” says Chancellor Robert Berdahl. “Those who had academic, social, or work-related connections with them, or who just want to show support for others who have suffered loss, are encouraged to attend.”

Family and friends of those who have died are also welcome.
During the ceremony, Berdahl will make brief remarks, the names of the deceased will be read by faculty, staff, and student representatives, and a moment of silence will be observed. Music, singing, and a reading will also be included. A stand that will hold a certificate with the names of the deceased has been erected next to the flagpole; the flag will fly at half-mast all that day.

While memorials are frequently held on campus, not every death is recognized, says Carol Hoffman, manager of the University Health Service’s Work/Life Program and one of the memorial’s organizers.

“The death of a first-year student with few connections at Berkeley, or a staff member who’s been out of the workplace for a while, are examples of a situation where a campus memorial may not be held,” Hoffman notes. “This service ensures that everyone who has died during the past year will have at least one campus event held in their honor.”

Memorial organizers, she says, worked hard to create a campus ritual that would be respectful of diverse religious and cultural beliefs. Hoffman says planners hope the memorial will continue to be held on an annual basis.

“Fall is a time when the campus is looking forward,” says Assistant Chancelor John Cummins of the memorial’s timing. “But as we progress into the new academic year, we want to make sure we take the time to remember those who won’t be joining us on this journey.“

Responding to campus deaths
To make sure future memorials are as comprehensive as possible, Hoffman encourages the campus to use the university’s “Guidelines for Responding to Death” website when faculty, staff, students, emeriti, or retirees pass away.

The site,, provides a step-by-step outline of actions to take when a death occurs, including how to choose who will be responsible for coordinating the response to a death and an explanation of that role; a timeline with detailed information on communications, condolences, survivors’ emotional needs, memorial events, and other considerations; and a list of specific considerations for students, faculty, staff, emeriti, and retirees.

A new feature on the site enables users to automatically e-mail pertinent information to all required parties on campus. “In the past,” Hoffman says, “users had to fax forms to various people, which was cumbersome. With automatic e-mail, the information goes to all the right departments, such as the benefits or registrar’s office, in a timely and convenient manner.”

Information for members of the campus who’ve lost loved ones is also available on the website, such as what to do when a family member dies, how to deal with grief and loss, and preparing for one’s own death. Campus resources, such as an emergency loan program that can be used for death-related expenses, are also listed.

Virtual memorials can also be created by visitors to the site who wish to create a web page in memory of family members, friends, or others in or outside of the university.

Berkeley’s progressive program for responding to campus death — created by a chancellor-appointed working group co-chaired by Hoffman and Cummins — has been recognized nationally. Hoffman says she receives inquiries about Berkeley’s death-response procedures from universities, institutions, and corporations around the country and that it has been the subject of articles in several journals and periodicals.

Remembering those we've lost


Home | Search | Archive | About | Contact | More News

Copyright 2002, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.

Comments? E-mail