A memorial and candlelight vigil was held Saturday for Nicholas Holt, the Stony Brook freshman who died at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital last month after he attended a party held by members of the Alpha Phi Delta fraternity.
Over 100 people, including Interim Associate Dean of Students Jeffrey Barnett and Assistant Dean of Student Ellen Driscoll attended the event, which was held in Student Activities Center Ballroom B. The entrance and hallway to the ballroom was packed with people unable to find an empty seat.
The event began at 8 p.m with the reading of a poem given to the event’s hosts, Benjamin Hart and Emma Galvin, by Holt’s family. Then there was a display of photographs his friends and family had taken with him.
The full sideshow lasted over 15 minutes and evoked tears and laughter that echoed through the room.
The Stony Brook Pipettes, the university’s all female acapella group performed a mashup of John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” and “Where is The Love” by The Black Eyed Peas.
Emotions reverberated for nearly two hours while those attending shared personal experiences on an open microphone. Dozens of people told stories of Holt.
“Nick was living proof that angels walk among us,” said Izzy Bouklas, an English and psychology major who went on to say that Holt was her first friend at Stony Brook, having met him at orientation.
Being people’s first friend at Stony Brook proved to be something that Holt was rather good at, with more than 10 people attributing the role to him over the course of the evening.
His high school writing teacher, Brad Shankman, recalled that he was “beloved by everyone around him.”
“He always challenged me to essay contests, he was sure his writing was better than mine… it wasn’t, but he was confident about it,” Shankman said, smiling.
Open mic concluded with a statement from Galvin, who said, “I can’t imagine the adventure we had together without shedding tears, I’m sorry we never got our chance to be something more, I will love you forever.”
At 9:45 the group marched together, in near silence, across the Academic Mall to the Wang Center fountain. They placed electric candles around the base. Many took pictures and held group hugs, but very little was said. Slowly over the course of the next hour, the crowd thinned, until about only a dozen remained. They took one last huddle together, and said goodbye.