Remembering Acevedo

By Jennifer F. Hamer

It is not often that I am overwhelmed simultaneously with joy and sorrow.

Yet, such mixed feelings were in abundance at the memorial service for Cathy Acevedo, associate dean of students, UIUC, at Foellinger Auditorium on Thursday.

A racially and ethnically diverse group of University administrators, staff, faculty, students and community folk came together to share their many fond memories of someone whose practices embodied the Illinois missions to higher education, civic engagement and diversity.

According to colleagues, students and loved ones she was most notable as an advocate, a voice and a friend to racial minorities, the LGBT communities, women and other groups who are most challenged by inequities. Her mission was to create an inclusive university. She asked others to join her in this quest. I know that many of us were moved not only by the words of Chancellor Herman, Celina Villanueva and others who came forward but also by the legacy that Cathy Acevedo has left behind for us to continue.

Clearly her life’s work represents the potential that each of has to make a difference on this campus and in our communities. I expect that all of us will remain deeply saddened by her loss.

My hope is that we find solace and joy in supporting her commitment and practice to all that brings us all together.