Student’s death provides lesson for life

By Tammy Sholer

“(Jim Rodger’s) death has stopped us all dead in our tracks … and made us evaluate how we want to live our lives ….”

These were the words of Father Stephen Potter as he spoke at a memorial service for the 21-year-old NIU senior who was shot and killed while riding in a car Jan. 5.

Family members did not attend the service, which was held Wednesday night at the Newman Foundation Catholic Student Center, 512 Normal Rd.

However, Potter told about 150 friends that Rodger’s “senseless killing” is a lesson from which everyone can learn. He said people have to make a choice whether to live life to the fullest or push people away.

People should learn from the pain of losing a loved one to discover new ways to invite people into their lives “wholesomely and creatively,” Potter said.

“We have to be ready at all times (to die) but we can’t live in fear,” he said. Potter urged the mourners to live life with enthusiasm and emphasized that life should not be wasted.

Anger will inevitably prevail in each person, but it is important to feel that anger, Potter said. However, the anger has to be dealt with appropriately or else it can destroy a person, he warned.

A plaque will be erected in memory of Rodger in the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, where Rodger was a member, said Chapter President Mike Linehan.

odger’s name will be etched on the plaque as the Outstanding Brother of the Year, Linehan said. In the years ahead, the name of a fraternity brother who wins the award also will be etched on the plaque.

A joint memorial fund will be arranged for Rodger and a former Phi Kappa Sigma member, 19-year-old David Coll, who committed suicide in March, 1988, Linehan said.

A $500 scholarship will be awarded in memory of the two fraternity members who died within the past year, Linehan said. Another $500 scholarship will be granted to the winner of the outstanding brother award. Both scholarships are being funded solely by the chapter and its alumni.