The first eight weeks of this year have been littered with tragic losses of life. You’d be hard pressed to find a university that stays in the news more than UNC–for both good and bad reasons. Over my last four years we’ve lost more students, faculty, and university affiliates than I would have ever guessed, than we should have. We’ve lost them to foul play, robbery, suicide, medical conditions, and outright murder. It’s hard to explain how this kind of loss makes you feel, how it humbles you, brings reality to your world, unifies your community. In the span of just two months the country has lost Stuart Scott, one of the most recognizable ESPN personalities, Dean Smith-a trailblazing basketball coach and highly admired man. Then there was the sudden loss of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha, three brilliant young students targeted most likely for their faith.
And then there was Bob. Bob Simon, one of my favorite 60 Minutes reporters and a well-respected journalist. His last story, a feature on an ebola treatment was one he completed with his daughter. I watched a tribute to him tonight on 60 Minutes and it was incredibly touching and sad, to see this man who’s been a part of my home almost every Sunday night and know that he was gone was hard to swallow. I thought about his family, I thought about his friends.
All of these losses hurt more because we didn’t see them coming. I didn’t write this to give a long eulogy or deep thoughts on life, I simply wanted to give them a space here, in memoriam, to say that I love them, I miss them, and the light they brought into the world still shines, indeed.