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Ceremony honors Eternal Knights

Published: Monday, April 5, 2010

Updated: Monday, April 5, 2010 13:04


Amy Simpson

More than 400 friends and family members of UCF students who have passed away during the last year gathered in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union Wednesday to pay tribute to these Eternal Knights.

Maribeth Ehasz, vice president for student development and enrollment services, welcomed attendees to the ceremony and expressed her sorrow, but said that the focus of the event was to remember the things the students contributed, both to the university and the community as a whole.

"We are here to unite as a community and remember that the university was a better place for the time they each shared with us," said Ehasz.

In their opening remarks, University President John C. Hitt and Student Body President Brian Peterson both expressed that, even in such a large community, every one of the 28 students will be missed.

"Although our campus is very large, UCF has a very special way of making every student feel like an integral part of this university," Peterson said. "UCF is a family and a community. We are all Knights. When one person or family experiences a loss, we all do."

During the Eulogy part of the ceremony, members of the President's Leadership Council carried yellow roses one at a time to the front of the room, where they were placed in vases, each representing one of the 28 Eternal Knights.

The Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, as well as several members of the UCF orchestra program, provided the songs for the "musical meditation" portions of the ceremony, as well as the music that played while guests entered and left the ballroom.

After the ceremony, the families of the Eternal Knights were invited to a special reception, where they were encouraged to share stories and remember their loved ones.

"Whether they were on campus for a semester or several years, they were a valuable part of the UCF community," Ehasz said.

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Dawn Saul - Mother of JP Saul
Thu Apr 8 2010 13:44
My family and I attended the Eternal Knights ceremony on March 31, 2010 in honor of my beloved son, James Patrick "JP" Saul who passed away in July 2009 due to a fatal Epileptic seizure. My 'thanks' to the University in honoring all the children who had passed. I was shocked and sadden to learn 28 students had died recently while attending UCF. My son loved his school and was so proud to be an UCF Knight.... (He was well known for his school spirit!)
No matter how many times I said the words, "Eternal Knight" while trying to explain the details of the memorial service to family and friends to honor Jimmy as a forever "Eternal Knight"..... the words welded up in my throat and only tears could be expressed. The program was compassionate, tasteful and well organized. Well Done!Although, I argue that the reception allowed families to mingle. As a bereaved parent... this was not an occassion where people came together to chat and/ or relate stories. Everyone was solemn and just starred and wondered what everyone eles'story was. While few word were shared... everyone present... from the smallest sibling to the eldest grandparent carried the same intense feelings of grief and loss. My only suggestion to the university would be to put aside an area of the university were a plaque could be permanently displayed to honor these students who walked through the doors of this educational facility but never completed their 'Walk' to graduation and the world beyond!
Forever in our hearts!!!
Dawn Saul

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