Permanent memorial installed to honor student Paul Lee
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of his classmates, 5th West Ashton Hall floormates, professors, and others, a new permanent memorial has been installed to celebrate the life of student Paul Lee, who died in a tragic shooting on campus on June 5, 2014. The memorial is on the north side of Ashton Hall where Paul lived.
Nearly 100 students from Paul’s Class of 2017 contributed to the memorial, marking one of the largest numbers of student contributors as well as money raised for a senior class gift. Julia Bennet ’17, a friend and art major, worked on the installation design along with Professor Emeritus of Art Roger Feldman, who had Paul as a student. The memorial’s flowing design incorporates Paul’s love of dance, as well as a place to sit and reflect, and will eventually feature flowering plants as a sign of continuing life and hope.
Emma Hewett ’17 and Claire Mainprize ’17 were friends of Paul’s and met in a USEM (University Seminar) class that focused on faith and the visual arts.
They talked a lot about faith and art in class, so it was very important to leave a legacy for Paul in the form of an art piece. “There is something in this place that he loved so much,” Mainprize said. “[The memorial] is a reflection piece for a reflective person who was creative, artistic, and always daydreaming.”
The reflection part of the memorial stood out to Emma and Claire, who both served on the Senior Gift Committee. “Paul was a deep thinker and inspired me, and others, to think deeply and differently about life,” Hewett said. “We knew we wanted more than just a bench or a plaque on the ground, and this piece was meant to be a curated space for reflection.”
Claire said the installation has a dual meaning. “It’s both a place to sit and reflect on the collective trauma we all experienced on June 5, as well as a tangible way to remember our friend.”
A plaque will soon be installed honoring Paul and explaining the key elements of the memorial. Donations are still being accepted at spu.edu/give (with the designation Paul Lee Memorial).