UAHuntsville Memorial Service
Remarks and photos will be posted shortly.
Counseling: 256.824.6203 or after hours: 256.824.6911
Counseling will be available Friday:
MH 221 9am - 5pm
MSC 201 9am - 5pm
March 1, 2010
Dear colleagues and members of the UAHuntsville Family:
Now that were on the other side of our official mourning period, we reflect on the past two weeks and anticipate the days, weeks and months ahead. We continue to grieve for our three slain professors and three wounded faculty and staff, and we feel the hurt borne by their friends and family. Feelings of normalcy were replaced with feelings of anxiety. The murders of February 12 underscore how fragile and unpredictable life is, even in the halls of academia.
Let us use our experiences of these past days to commit to healing and rebuilding instead of retreating into defensiveness or suspicion. Life is fragile and unpredictable; our various faiths and sense of community remind us constantly of that, even as we pursue our normal daily lives.
At the memorial services and funerals, families and friends reminisced about their lost loved ones. They talked of lives lived, students taught and scholarly successes. Words of bitterness, anger, or hate were not spoken. Let us follow the lead of those most hurt by this incomprehensible act of violence. Let us build on the acts of love that we witnessed.
UAHuntsville is changed, but we can choose the manner in which February 12 shapes our future. We will honor our slain colleagues by affirming the principles for which they stood: public service to education and research, and, most importantly, positive influence on the lives of students, colleagues, and community.
We can shape UAHuntsvilles future by sustaining and deepening the relationships which emerged in those dark days of shock and sadness. People from a distance, both in place and time, reached out. Let the concern of colleagues, friends and family provide comfort as we carry on.
Let us remember many extraordinary events. We were engulfed with outpourings of encouragement from strangers including hundreds of Team Redstones soldiers and civil servants during a ceremony dedicated to the victims and to UAHuntsville. Their salute to us and the singing of Amazing Grace solidified the mutual connections between our institutions. Let us not take these relationships for granted as we carry on.
Oakwood College students greeted students and employees returning to Shelby Center for the first time with hugs and gospel music. Moments of silence were held on many campuses, even at Big Ten basketball games. Universities around the country and civic organizations came to provide counselors, pet therapy, and protective services. Friends and strangers sent emails, letters, and made phone calls with messages of concern and encouragement. Let us not take this generosity and kindness for granted.
We are part of a community which demonstrated that it cares deeply about us. In future days lets find ways to embrace the community which embraced us. Let us re-commit ourselves to being active members of the community in our personal lives as well as our professional careers. We want our university to be defined, not by the horrible, selfish action of one person, but by the strength of our relationships with each other and the community. Remember we are the University of Alabama IN Huntsville!
When people ask us about UAHuntsville, we will talk about our caring atmosphere and supportive local community, not about one date. We will talk about our resilience and determination to improve our minds and make a difference in our community, not about insularity. We will talk about the courage and passion that our faculty and staff bring to their jobs. And we will talk about the high academic standards of our students and the international reputations of our leading scholars. These are our defining characteristics that will carry us into the future.
David B. Williams, Ph.D.,Sc.D.