Annual Blue and Gold Memorial Adapts to a Virtual Format Amid Pandemic

By Zoe Morton, Staff Writer– 

Historically, the Blue and Gold Memorial is a UTC tradition that honors students, staff, faculty, and alumni who have passed away in the previous year in Patton Chapel. Due to COVID-19, this year’s memorial service takes place online at the Blue and Gold Memorial webpage. 

Steven Angle, Chancellor of UTC, opened the ceremony by saying, “This tribute is our way of symbolizing that while no longer physically with us, they are permanently among us.” 

Brett Fuchs, the associate dean of students, spoke about moving the Memorial online. 

“I am sad that the memorial has moved online this year as a result of COVID-19. However, working with our COVID-19 Campus Support Team, I completely understand the necessity. We are doing our very best to keep the UTC campus healthy and mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Fuchs said. “That said, I hope that members of the community will take time to reflect on those who we have lost, and spend time remembering those individuals in-person at our next opportunity.” 

Among the deceased were 133 alumni, 2 council members, 13 faculty members, 8 staff and retirees, and 9 students.

Dr. Jane Harbaugh, UTC’s first female dean, who passed away in September of 2020 after a long career of academic success and leadership, is included in the honorees of this year’s Blue and Gold Memorial. 

Frances King, a junior child and family studies student, applauded the University for their actions towards preventing the spread of COVID-19 but said it does make her sad to not see these kinds of precautions with sports teams. 

“It frustrates me that UTC will gather thousands into a stadium but won’t organize a socially-distanced, masked event for those who left us last year,” King said. “Personally, I think the memorial is more important than our games.” 

Yesmeen Minkara, a freshman studying political science, echoed the same ideas about preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“It does make me feel sad for the people who died because people don’t get the opportunity to pay their respects properly,” Minkara said.

COVID-19 impacted the UTC community in numerous ways, but Fuchs says, “While the University is taking every step possible to keep our campus safe and healthy, everyone eagerly waits until we can return to normal operations.” 

To see this year’s honorees, follow this link to the Blue and Gold Memorial webpage.

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