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Washington State University

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Elson S. Floyd, Ph.D. - 1/14/08

Friday’s Tragedy

The tragic accident near Coeur d’Alene over the weekend that took the lives of three WSU students is a sobering reminder of the fragility of so much that we too often take for granted. This event affects all of us on this campus, all of us who are part of the Cougars’ extended family.

Ann Barney, Benjamin Lockard and Tyler Pearson — each was a special individual. At the same time, they had so much in common with the students who are going back and forth to classes on our campuses today — the desire for an education, the love of their friends and family, the excitement of lives full of possibilities. Then, in one awful moment, one inexplicable accident, it is gone.

Our thoughts go out to the families of these students and to those on campus who knew them, studied with them, laughed with them, shared their victories and defeats. To the staff members who helped them along the way, to the faculty members who stand in front of classrooms today with one chair tragically empty.

Perhaps it is hard to take much of a lesson away from such a senseless accident or from other tragedies that strike those on our campuses and pass with less notice.

At the very least, however, these events should remind us that we share this special place for all too brief a time. We should pause to think about how interconnected all our lives are, how much we value one another, how important it is to be kind to the person in the next seat in class, in the next room down the hall.

That would be one fitting way to remember three WSU students who are gone too soon.