photo of the student memorial

Student Memorial

The Memorial for Deceased Students provides a place on campus where we can mourn the loss of beloved St. Thomas community individuals and reflect upon the impact they had — on us, our friends, and the entire campus community. It sits at the heart of university student life, allowing everyone to honor the memory of all who have passed.

The Memorial for Deceased Students, located between the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas and Frey Residence Hall, represents years of work by students, administrators and community members who secured funding and designed the site. This space provides classmates, faculty, and loved ones with an interactive space to keep their memory alive. A place where we can also be thankful for their lasting impact on our lives and on the St. Thomas Community.

When a Student Dies

The death of a student in the campus community is a tragic event and the university is committed to responding with care and support. Grieving family members, friends, faculty, and others who knew the student may all have different needs for support to help cope with the loss and begin the healing process. Frequently used resources include: Dean of Students Office, Counseling and Psychological Services, Campus Ministry, and Center for Well-Being. Occasionally a student organization, an academic department, or an office will plan individual gatherings and memorials. Staff members from the Dean of Students Office and Campus Ministry are available to assist as needed.

Soon after receiving confirmation of a student’s death, a Dean of Students or Campus Ministry staff member will contact the family to determine their wishes for sharing information, need for any services, or memorial planning. The Dean of Students Office will also coordinate with other campus offices and academic affairs to notify faculty, roommates, and students close to the deceased.

When a St. Thomas student passes away, the university:

  • Stops and notes the loss of the student and grieves the loss.
  • Respects the family’s wishes for privacy – an important aspect of choosing when to inform and include university community members.
  • Fulfills requirements of state and local laws regarding notification of next of kin, reporting the cause of a death, and allowing law enforcement to conduct its investigation.
  • Reassures community members when a death occurs within the boundaries of the campus.
  • Provides information and support resources for impacted students, faculty, and staff.

It is important that the Dean of Students office be notified of any student who has died even if other services are not needed. We want to recognize the student’s personal gift to us in being a member of our St. Thomas family.

If you are in need of a support resource and are unsure where to find it, please contact the Dean of Students Office.

Resource Guide

Navigating Traumatic Events

Traumatic situations can impact a student’s functioning, especially the capacity to succeed in the classroom. Students can be impacted by traumatic events, loss (friends/family, other students, or faculty), acts of violence both nationally and locally, racial trauma, or struggles with their own mental health or other life difficulties.

Resource Guide

Grief and Loss

Grief is a normal and natural response to the death of a loved one. Whether the loss is of a family member, friend, spouse, dating partner, classmate, teammate, or co-worker, feeling grief is a universal experience for all humans.

Memorial Funds, Donations and Gifts

The Dean of Students Office will work with you to connect you with the appropriate individual from University Development and Alumni Relations if you would like assistance in developing a memorial fund.

If you have decided to establish a memorial fund at the university, you may want to include that information in the obituary.