COLUMBIA — The shades were drawn in Memorial Student Union's Stotler Lounge on Friday afternoon. A quiet chatter filled the room as people filled rows of chairs facing a podium. Some laughed; others cried.
They had gathered to celebrate the lives of six MU students who have died in the last year.
Four undergraduate and two graduate students were honored at this year's MU Remembers, an annual event since 2002. Some belonged to the MU community for a short period of time, while others were lifelong fans. The youngest was 18; the oldest was 36.
MU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs and MU Deputy Chancellor Michael Middleton both acknowledged the importance of mourning as a community when they addressed the audience. Middleton said families celebrate and grieve together and "the Mizzou family is no different."
"The students that we remember today are a part of us, a part of Mizzou," Scroggs said.
Missouri Students Association President Mason Schara and Graduate Professional Council President Jake Wright then read short obituaries of the students:
Aaron Boren, known as A.J. to friends and family, was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and studied photojournalism at MU. He was from Jackson, Tenn., and attended the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Mo., where he was active in the school yearbook and newspaper. He graduated from the school in 2010 as a first lieutenant with high honors.
He died Jan. 17, 2014. He was 22.
Adam Garb, a Columbia native, attended Hickman High School, where he was a varsity football player, according to an obituary from Parker Funeral Service & Crematory. He was also a Bright Flight scholar. He regularly attended MU athletic events and went to football bowl games with his father.
He died June 21, 2013, two months before he was expected to graduate from MU's biochemistry program. He was 36.
Danielle Jones, of Camdenton, Mo., studied health sciences in her undergraduate career at MU and was working toward a master's degree in social work at MU. She worked at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute and enjoyed riding her bike on the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail. A 2007 graduate of Camdenton High School, she was a member of the Pride of the Lake Marching Band, according to an obituary from Allee-Holman-Howe Funeral Home.
"She really wanted to make a difference in the world," her friend Courtney Tuttle said. "She was just always there for other people."
Jones died Oct. 29, 2013, from health complications, Tuttle said. She was 24.
Samuel Kloeppel was studying computer science at MU and working as a member of the Mizzou Athletics event staff. He loved sports and was a season-ticket holder since he was 6 months old.
Kloeppel graduated from Rock Bridge High School in 2012. While there, he played lacrosse for three years and emerged as a team leader. An award was created in his name to recognize other leaders on the team.
He died June 6, 2013, two days before his 19th birthday.
Jarrett Mosby was a senior business student at MU from Collinsville, Ill., and was the father of a 6-year-old boy. He was a member of an honors society on campus and could frequently be found eating Oreos or cereal. After his death, his friends began raising money to create a scholarship fund for Mosby's son and other African-American men wanting to go to college.
He was killed Dec. 23, 2013, from multiple gunshot wounds, according to previous Missourian reporting. He was 21.
Rui Ren, of Hunan, China, was a graduate student studying and teaching French at MU. Her colleagues Matthew Dye and Courtney Webster remembered her as an engaging, honest and loveable person. After Ren was diagnosed with stomach cancer, her husband organized fundraisers in collaboration with the School of Engineering, Dye and Webster said.
Ren died July 6, 2013. She was 24.
Schara also mentioned Gabriel Small, who died in a motorcycle accident Thursday. Small will be fully honored next year.
In addition to the ceremony, six new nameplates were added to a student memorial plaque in Memorial Union. Six books were dedicated to the students and placed in Ellis Library. Flags on campus were flown at half-staff.
The Memorial Student Union tower was scheduled to remain dark until 10 p.m.