Council dedicates street in VT victim’s honor

By Danielle Gaines

The Champaign City Council voted 8-0 to honor Austin Cloyd with an honorary street name Tuesday night.

Austin, a Champaign native, was one of 32 victims killed in the massacre at Virginia Tech on April 16.

The council action dedicated an area on State Street – from Hill Street to Park Avenue – as Austin Cloyd way.

The location of the designated street was at the request of the Cloyd family. According to a city document, the family said Austin would like a sign to be present at the corner of Church and State streets to honor her commitments to the public and to her religion.

Austin believed “Christians should serve God through government but not force their views on others – separation of Church and State,” the document said.

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Austin was born in Champaign and attended Centennial High School through her junior year, before moving to Blacksburg, Va. with her family in 2005.

Throughout her life, Austin was an ambitious, caring citizen, donating time to many outreach and community activities during her high school years in Champaign. She worked with Empty Tomb, Inc., to repair homes and helped create the Champaign Urbana Service Project (CUSP).

Austin was also an active member of First United Methodist Church in Champaign.

Austin Cloyd Way is located one block west of the church.

At the time of her death, the church held a prayer service in her honor.

Rev. Terry Harter described Austin as a “very delightful, intelligent (and) warm young lady.”

Austin visited the United Nations during a church trip and found herself calling for international relations and world peace.

Austin was a freshman at Virginia Tech at the time of her death. She was pursuing degrees in French and international relations. She was also minoring in environmental policy.

Austin Cloyd Way is the fourth honorary street to be declared by the council this year.