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       Send story and noteworthy ideas to Jessica Reyes, jmreyes@widener.edu.

      Vigil Held for Student Leader

      Widener Community Gathers to Mourn Student John Zackowski

      Remembering John Zackowski

      “An average day with John is, ‘we’re going to conquer the world,’” student Molly McKeown said in a tribute to John Zackowski, pictured above.

      Nearly 500 people gathered late last week for a candlelight vigil that honored the memory of student leader John Zackowski. The university was informed of his death, of natural causes, Thursday evening. He resided off campus.

      Zackowski was president of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, which organized the vigil with the Office of Student Affairs. It was held inside Lathem Hall. Zackowski's father, brother, grandparents and other family and friends attended, as well as ATOs, other fraternity and sorority members, alumni and friends.

      "We have lost a beloved member of our university community," Dean of Students Denise Gifford said. "It is sad, yet it is beautiful to see all the care and concern you have for one another."

      Multiple friends spoke and shared memories of Zackowski, calling him "the friend who always had your back" and an eccentric, inspiring leader who "had a courageous soul."

      "An average day with John is, 'we're going to conquer the world,'" student Molly McKeown, '18, said.

      Remembering John Zackowski

      Remembering John Zackowski

      Alpha Tau Omega and the Office of Student Affairs held a candlelight vigil on Dec. 9 to remember John Zackowski.

      Zackowski was an honors program student with a double major in political science and psychology. Some of his many activities included participating in Lobby Day, Relay for Life and the Walk A Mile in Her Shoes® march. He was a co-sponsor in the Taste of Chester program.

      ATO member Bryan Solomon, '18, served as emcee of the vigil, which also featured a montage of photos depicting Zackowski in happy times. The student group "Keeping it Trill" sang a somber acapella piece, and the event concluded with a prayer from the ATO student chaplain.

      "He is much more than a brother to us," Solomon said. "Our hearts are breaking, but we are lucky to have had such good times with him."

      Campus Support

      All members of the Widener University community who would like support as a result of this sad news are encouraged to take advantage of services available through the University Counseling Center. The center is located at 301 E. 19th St. or can be reached by phone at 610-499-1261.

       


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