Campus honors shooting victim at vigil

Ryan Agee holds his head in his hands as his mother, Kimberly Agee, checks in on him during a memorial ceremony for his brother, Steven Agee II, who was killed on Nov. 23 in an off-campus shooting.

By Chelsey Boutan

As a slideshow played showing pictures of Steven Agee II, some students started crying when the last two slides appeared.

“We will never forget 11-23-11…and though we must say goodbye we will never forget you,” they read.

More than 600 members of the campus community gathered for a vigil in memory of Agee Tuesday at the Holmes Student Center Duke Ellington Ballroom. Agee was a senior sociology student who was fatally shot at an off-campus party Nov. 23.

University administrators and members of student organizations who spoke at the vigil gave their sympathy to Agee’s family, who sat on the stage. They said Agee touched many lives on campus through his leadership and involvement in a number of student organizations, including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

To start the ceremony, Executive vice president Eddie Williams asked the audience to join hands to pray for the healing of the friends and family grieving Agee’s death. Audience members linked arms and bowed their heads as some students started crying. Many people held lit candles in memory of Agee.

NIU President John Peters spoke following the prayer, saying Agee was “poised for success,” but a “senseless and tragic act of violence” took Agee’s life. To begin the healing process, Peters said the campus community must honor Agee’s memory.

“We can do this by remembering what made him special, by being generous with our time and talents and by making a difference in the lives of others by following Steven’s example of involvement and leadership,” Peters said.

Richard Washington, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, said he was one of the last people to see Agee before he died. Washington said things might have gone differently if he’d known.

“I’ve been crying for the past week about this,” Washington told the audience. “It’s really taking a lot to have a smile on my face…If you have any problems with anybody, call them and let them know you care about them, because nobody is promised tomorrow.”

Junior communications major Farouk Olayiwola doesn’t remember how he first met Agee, but he said they became friends right away because they had the same sense of humor. Olayiwola said he will attend any events held in Agee’s memory because he wants to respect the legacy his friend had at NIU.

“I have to come to everything that has to do with Steve because he was a true, dear friend,” Olayiwola said. “I will be attending his funeral. I’m a part of Steve and he’s a part of me.”