Remembering Alexandra Kogut
"[Alexandra] was a bright young student, with a bright future" - President John R. Halstead
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 13:10
A sea of green turned a somber purple Monday Oct. 1.
In the aftermath of losing College at Brockport student Alexandra Kogut, 18, from domestic violence, the college came together to commemorate her memory at the Monday night vigil.
Described by friends and family as an “energetic, athletic, kind and warm” person, Alex was a communication major and a member of the Brockport women’s swimming and diving team.
What seemed like the entire student body, along with many members of the faculty and staff, came together at the vigil to honor a beautiful life lost far too young. As the vigil attendees filed into Union Ballroom, a slide show depicting Alex’s college and home life filled the projection screens. People who knew Alex, and those who did not, had the chance to peek into the life of the 18-year-old woman, who was just starting her journey into adulthood.
The ballroom, which had seats for 750 students, was at more than capacity at the start of the vigil. More than 200 students and staff remained outside the closed doors due to the lack of room inside the Ballroom.
The crowd of students extended across the Union Square all the way to the glass doors by the Information Desk. College officials estimated the number of attendees to be between 1,500 and 1,600.
Leah Barrett, assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, began the vigil with a short speech in which she encouraged students to embrace life.
Presiden John Halstead also addressed the room. He said that this situation was a “supreme test” for the Brockport family and community.
“We are here to grieve and heal together,” he said. “We all need support systems. I urge you to use them. [Alex] was a bright young student, with a bright future.”
At the vigil, close friends Alex made during her time at Brockport took the stage.
Samantha Turner, a freshman with Alex and fellow resident of McLean Hall, shared stories and memories of friendship between the two.
The two became best friends at Brockport and Samantha described Alex as being “the kindest person you would ever meet.”
Samantha described one memory of Alex where Alex decorated the inside of Samantha’s dorm room in celebration of her birthday. That was just days before the vigil.
“It was one of the happiest nights we had at Brockport,” Samantha said.
Alex’s roomate Kaila McClelland, also a freshman swimmer, followed Samantha on the stage.
Alex, Kaila and Samantha were all close friends. Sam said they were often referred to as “the tripod.”
Kaila said she and Alex had every class together, except for one. Kaila described how the two spent all of their time together and were “glued at the hip.”
She went on to describe her roommate as a person who was always smiling and an amazing person.
“She was a happy, bubbly and outgoing person,” Kaila said. “She was always smiling and knew how to brighten everyone’s day. I want to appreciate the times that moments are made into memories. I want to embrace them, cherish them.
“Everyone on campus is clearly affected by this tragedy and you can see our community really coming together. Let’s not let Alex’s memory die and remember the light she brought to our lives.”
Representing the Kogut family at the vigil was Alex’s great uncle, Dr. Pete Kogut.
He expressed his thanks for the continual support and love from the Brockport family and community.
“[Alex] loved her time here,” he said. “Take care of each other.”
After Dr. Kogut left the stage, the lighting of the candles began. As students filed into the ballroom at the start of the vigil, they were given a candle to light in rememberance.
The candle was lit to remember Alex Kogut and the life she led before her tragic death.
The vigil ended with the performance of “Over the Rainbow” by Brockport Brock a pella and a short speech by Katy Wilson, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.
In Wilson’s closing statement she told the attendees, “[Brockport] will move forward from this, but we should never forget.”
Although Alex was a freshman who had many years ahead of her, the impact of her death was felt campus and community-wide.
“I think this was an amazing thing for Brockport to do,” student Kari Stoelting said in an interview with 89.1 The Point, Brockport’s student radio station, after the vigil.
“It’s so amazing to see the community come together even for a girl who’s been here for a month. I mean, we would have done it for anybody, but even for a girl who’s been here for a month we love her, we never want her to be forgotten and it was just amazing what a community can do for somebody.
“She’ll forever be in our hearts. We love you.”
Fellow student Jeremy Mehta shared similiar sentiments in a seperate interview with The Point.
“It’s a pleasant surprise to see this many students come out here and pay their respects to her,” Mehta said. “She was a freshman, but everyone can recognize a student is a student and they’re one of us in the community of Brockport. She was a member and we will miss her. Not many of us got a chance to know her, but I’m sure it would have been as wonderful as the time it’s been for anyone who’s been a Brockport student. It’s great to see this kind of turnout and everybody can get to know a little more about Alex and what she meant to those she touched.”