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U.Va. Community Mourns Loss of Fourth-Year Student Casey Schulman

Fourth-year student Casey Schulman is being remembered across the University of Virginia community as a caring and energetic person, a devoted friend and an enthusiastic student who celebrated the opportunity to study abroad and learn about other cultures.

Schulman, 22, was killed Dec. 1 in a boating accident in Roseau, Dominica.

Those who knew her spoke lovingly and admiringly during a memorial service held Sunday aboard the MV Explorer, the ship on which Schulman was studying during her voyage with the Semester at Sea program.

Casey “radiated happiness,” remembered one academic dean who worked with her. “And she spoke with clarity about issues that mattered, inside the classroom and beyond.” A close friend described Schulman during the service aboard MV Explorer as “the only person I’ve ever known whose smile could actually light up an entire room.”

More remembrances from the ship service Sunday night will be shared at the Semester at Sea blog post, “News From the Helm” at www.semesteratsea.org.

In Charlottesville, friends of Schulman, a foreign affairs major in the College of Arts & Sciences, gathered to remember her and to support one another during a prayer vigil held Sunday evening. Plans for a memorial service open to the entire University are currently being developed. Details will be distributed across Grounds when available.

“Casey Schulman’s death is a cause of much sadness at the University. She was an exceptionally bright light – both in and outside the classroom – and she will long be remembered as a vibrant member of our community,” said Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Patricia Lampkin. “We must gather together as a family to support each other in our grief and to commemorate Casey’s memory.” 

For any members of the University community, support is available through Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, at 434-243-5150 or by speaking directly with a dean on call by contacting the University Police at 434-924-7166. A dean is on call 24/7, should anyone need assistance.

Communications distributed as of Dec. 2 regarding this tragic accident:

• Dec. 2, 2012: Statement from Jeffrey Legro, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, University of Virginia, read at service for Casey Schulman on board the MV Explorer:

I write this from the University of Virginia on this very sad Sunday. Please know that we are one with you in grieving the terrible loss of Casey Schulman. As a community of teachers and learners. it is hard to find the purpose of the grief and loss we confront. But there is much to remember.

In a life too short, Casey left a remarkable imprint on so many. She was a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend and student. Here at the University she was a buoyant and energetic presence. Casey was a dedicated Foreign Affairs major taking a particular interest in the broader world around her. One of her teachers wrote, “Casey was thoughtful, in multiple senses of the word: she was not only intelligent, but also kind and open to points of view other than her own.” Another noted that even in a particularly difficult class, one that was wearing down other students, Casey remained upbeat and engaged, leading participation. And outside the classroom she was in particular a loyal and much beloved member of Alpha Phi sorority.

You know firsthand that Casey’s learning and legacy extends well beyond Virginia – not only in the close bonds of shipmates, but also among those befriended along the way.

We are on land and you at sea, and the breadth of geography reflects the scale of joy Casey brought to life and those around her. But that same distance cannot nearly encompass our sadness. Casey shared the seasons, pursuits, traditions and events of our now joined communities. She knew what it meant to be a U.Va. student and a Semester at Sea explorer.

As the poet John Donne wrote, her death diminishes us because she was part of us.

We cannot share all our memories of her today or even in the days and months ahead. That task will take a lifetime.

• December 2, 2012: Update from Michael Zoll, vice president for program administration and student affairs, Institute for Shipboard Education, delivered to students, parents and others associated with the Semester at Sea program

As the Fall 2012 Semester at Sea voyage departs Roseau, Dominica, all of us here at the Institute for Shipboard Education have been touched by the outpouring of sympathy, support, and compassion for Casey Schulman and her family. Thank you for your many kind wishes and messages, many of which have been shared with her family.

Grief counselors and support services continue to be made available to students on a 24-hour basis. I am pleased to report many participants are taking advantage of these services and our senior shipboard leaders are working closely with local officials, institute staff in Charlottesville, and key representatives of the University of Virginia to coordinate all aspects of communication and outreach following this tragedy.

As students receive grief counseling, many are also taking a moment now to share memories of Casey, a fourth-year student at U.Va who was known for her academic scholarship, participation in the Alpha Phi sorority, and “shining” personality.

This morning in Roseau, Executive Dean John Tymitz, Dean of Students Lisa Slavid, many faculty and staff, and more than 70 students attended church services.

At the request of her parents, a “memory box” has been placed on the ship for participants to share photos and stories.

This evening, directly following the ship’s departure from Dominica, the community will gather for a memorial service in Casey’s honor. The program will include remarks from the deans, her University of Virginia advisor Gordon Stewart, and many close student friends, who have contributed images for a slideshow tribute. An open session will follow, enabling all participants to share reflections. Highlights of the service and commemorative content will be published on the “News from the Helm” blog tomorrow.

Final academic preparations for the end of the voyage continue as scheduled. Tuesday has been reserved as a Reflection Day, when a traditional maritime ceremony will be performed. The captain will navigate the ship in three full circles at sea, a short ceremony will take place, and shipmates will place flowers in the ocean.

The Fall 2012 Parents Reception in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will take place as planned on Dec. 6 and the voyage is scheduled to return to Port Everglades at 7 a.m. on Dec. 7.

Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers for the Schulman family.

Dec. 1, 2012: Message to students and faculty from Patricia Lampkin, Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

To the University community:

I write today to inform you of the loss of one of our students. Casey Schulman, a fourth-year foreign affairs major from Falls Church, Va., was killed earlier today in a recreational boating incident in Roseau, Dominica.

I have been in touch with Casey’s family and ask that you join us in keeping the family and its friends in our thoughts during this difficult time.

Casey was a participant in the Semester at Sea program. The trip during which the incident occurred was organized independently of the SAS activities. Leadership at the Institute for Shipboard Education and senior voyage administrators have also been in contact with Casey’s family, the U.S. Embassy of the Eastern Caribbean and University leadership.

Grief counseling and support services have been made available to all members of the SAS community on a 24-hour basis. A commemorative service is planned aboard the ship tomorrow evening. The ship will depart Dominica tomorrow at 8 p.m. local time as planned and will return to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Friday, Dec. 7.

For any members of the University community, support is available through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) this weekend at 434-972-7004 or by speaking directly with a dean on call by contacting the University Police at 434-924-7166. A dean is on call 24/7, should anyone need assistance.

• Dec. 1, 2012: Statement of Les McCabe, president, Institute for Shipboard Education, delivered via “News From the Helm” blog, Semesteratsea.org

It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the loss of one of our students earlier today. Casey Schulman, a fourth-year student at the University of Virginia, was killed in a recreational boating incident in Roseau, Dominica.

The trip had been organized independently by a group of students and was not a Semester at Sea-sponsored excursion.

The Institute for Shipboard Education and senior voyage administrators are in close contact with Casey’s family, the U.S. Embassy of the Eastern Caribbean, and key officials at the University of Virginia.

Grief counseling and support services have been made available to all members of the community on a 24-hour basis.

A commemorative service is planned aboard the ship tomorrow evening. The ship will depart Dominica tomorrow at 8 p.m. local time as planned and will return to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Friday, December 7.

We wish to convey our condolences to Casey’s family, her many friends, and those who witnessed the accident. Please join me in keeping the Schulman family in your thoughts at this very difficult time.

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