by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
The Dickinson community came together Dec. 4 to honor and remember Lauren Lau ’19, who died unexpectedly on Oct. 30. The second of three Dickinson ceremonies in Lau's memory, the event included a message on behalf of the college by interim President Neil Weissman, performances by student and faculty musicians and remembrances by students, faculty and staff.
“This is a loss for the entire college, and one that many of us feel so deeply,” said Donna Hughes, director of the Center for Service, Spirituality & Social Justice, who led the service. “She is missed by all who knew her and loved her, and we are so thankful for having had her here with us.”
Lau came to Dickinson last year from Almeda, Calif., and declared a major in anthropology. She was a member of Dickinson’s chapter of the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega (APO) and lived in the Human Cultures House, a special-interest residence hall for students interested in issues surrounding cultural diversity.
During the service, friends, classmates and mentors remembered Lau as a kind and genuine young woman with an endearing sense of humor and a passion for helping others. Emily Gamber ’17, president of APO, spoke of her friend’s willingness to speak publicly—a challenge she accepted so she could serve the greater good as APO’s sergeant-at-arms. Friends and mentors also remembered Lau’s wry humor—her flute teacher at Dickinson, Jocelyn Goranson, noted that Lau was able to make her laugh during each of their music lessons—and, in an original poem, Lau’s roommate, Katherine Knothe ’19, recalled her friend’s genuine smile.
The ceremony was filmed for Lau’s parents, Alfred and Lynn, who were unable to be there in person and sent messages read by Dot Lehotsky, executive assistant for the Office of Student Life. Lau’s brother, Aaron, who had shared his thoughts in a Nov. 10 letter to the student newspaper, was in attendance. Aaron also had attended a less formal ceremony at Dickinson, held Oct. 31 in the Holland Union Building, which drew hundreds of students, faculty and staff.
A third Dickinson ceremony in Lau’s memory and honor—a tree planting—is slated for the spring.
Published December 5, 2016