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The Remembrance Garden at the southeast corner of campus was dedicated on April 30.

Remembrance service and garden dedication provide comfort and healing

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Media Contact: Jordan Bishop | Editor, Department of Brand Management | 405-744-7193 | jordan.bishop@okstate.edu

The Cowboy family gathered Saturday for its second annual Remembrance Service to honor Oklahoma State University students, faculty and staff who died over the last year. 

The event was held in the newly constructed Remembrance Garden and included a garden dedication.

Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Hallenbeck hosted the commemorative event. Under Dr. Hallenbeck’s leadership, the university and the Division of Student Affairs has enhanced its response to and support for community members after a death in the Cowboy family. The annual Remembrance Service is just one initiative among several to support grieving family and friends.

“We hope this service can bring comfort and space for reflection by helping our community celebrate the lives of members of our Cowboy family,” Hallenbeck said.  

Kyle Wray, senior vice president for executive affairs, shared condolences on behalf of administration and Stillwater pastor and alum Bryan Padgett provided words of comfort.

Kyle Wray, senior vice president for executive affairs, speaks at the Remembrance Service with Dr. Doug Hallenbeck, vice president for student affairs, listening.

Three members of the Cowboy family — Student Government Association President Jack Edwards, Faculty Council Chair Dr. Pam Lovern and Staff Advisory Council Chair Melanie Bayles — read the names of the students, staff and faculty who passed away over the last year. 

The Remembrance Service included dedicating the newly constructed Remembrance Garden as a space where the campus community can mourn and celebrate the lives of fellow Cowboys. 

Director of Student Support and Conduct Dr. Aleigha Mariott provided background to the garden project. The idea had broad support from the SGA, the Faculty Council and Landscape Design Services. 

Mariott paid tribute to the people who first inhabited the land upon which the Remembrance Garden now sits.

“Long before Oklahoma State University was established, this land was the traditional home of Native people … we acknowledge, honor and respect the indigenous people connected to this land," she said.

The estate of Murray Case Sells largely funded garden construction. The site is anchored by a water feature that celebrates the university’s agricultural history. Two 300-year-old reclaimed granite pieces — a millstone and a runner stone — were once used to grind grain and are now engraved with the inspiring phrase, “Once a Cowboy, Always a Cowboy.”

The Remembrance Garden is available to student organizations and departments desiring to memorialize an individual at the time of their passing. Student Union Meeting and Conference Services will assist with space reservations. 

Division of Students Affairs leadership reminds the Cowboy family that University Counseling Services offer grief counseling and grief resources. Support for family, friends, peers and colleagues is central to the university’s response after a loved one’s death. Community members can find more information here

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