Despite the cool weather, students and faculty joined together in front of Knutti Hall with palmed candles last Wednesday evening to commemorate the passing of university student Omayemi “Yemi” Amorighoye.
Amorighoye, 23, from Frederick, Md., was a senior communications and new media major with a minor in English set to graduate this December.
Amorighoye passed away on Thursday, Oct. 31. According to a news release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Amorighoye’s body was recovered after he allegedly jumped from the Route 34 bridge near Shepherdstown Pike. The news of his death came as a shock to the campus community with many still wondering why.
“Just a week before Amorighoye’s death, we were discussing graduate school together,” said Jason McKahan, assistant professor of communication, at the vigil. McKahan stated that for days after Amorighoye’s death he often thought about what he could have done.
A handful of students voiced a similar type of concern over the heartbreak of losing their colleague so unexpectedly. “What kind of friend was I that he didn’t feel like he could talk to me?” said a student peering into a sea of lit candles outside Knutti Hall.
Several students and faculty expressed the importance of speaking up when there is an issue or problem. “Reach out to one another,” said Professor McKahan.
Although Amorighoye’s passing has been difficult, bursts of laughter erupted throughout the vigil when some took to the podium to share in recollections of him. From his “spirited filmmaking, infectious smile or necessity to always be in need of a snack,” students and faculty spoke for more than an hour during the ceremony.
Bob Buchanan, a member from Amorighoye’s church in Frederick, Md., stated he has known him since he was 12 years old. He said that Amorighoye was becoming a remarkable person and had touched many lives.
Former classmate Larry Brown stated he only knew Amorighoye for six weeks, but he admired him as a gifted filmmaker. “I had hoped to know you better, but thank God I knew you at all. I will miss you, my friend,” he said.
The vigil on Wednesday, Nov. 6 was held by the Communications Department. Many of Amorighoye’s films were shown on a large projector, including his senior capstone project.
Amorighoye was an active member of student activities on campus and was also employed by the university at the Shepherd bookstore. Two of his female co-workers joked and said, “Yemi was the best at folding shirts.” The girls also stated that he would be greatly missed.
“It’s so important to remember the good things,” said Professor McKahan.