On Thursday night, family, friends and administrators gathered to share stories and celebrate the life of Aurora Ephraim, a 20-year-old junior who passed away on March 15.
Ephraim was a physics major from New Jersey and involved on campus with organizations including the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Organization for Women at UM (NOW), Scientifica magazine, and UPride, the LGBTQ organization.
“I speak for most of us here that this week and a half has been hard,” junior Diego Patrimonio said. “Being here all together, sharing in each other’s silence, sharing in each other’s moments for Aurora, who we all love.”
Reverend Beth Bostrom; Patricia Whitely; Joshua Cohn, the chair of the physics department; and Ephraim’s mother spoke about her at the vigil. Many of her friends shared stories of the impact she made on their lives as well.
“She was a strong character through and through. … Whenever I had a crisis in my life, she was there to help me through it,” Patrimonio said. “We always had the best conversations. … I’m extremely lucky to have had her in my life.”
Sophomore Tyler Katz shared about Aurora’s confidence when she went around campus telling people “how pretty she was.”
“We went through the UC and around campus, running to people telling them how pretty she was,” Katz said. “I finally got to my meeting, and the first thing I say is, ‘Tell Aurora how pretty she is’ and her bubbliness and confidence and full of energy and life, I will never forget that.”
According to Katz, the vigil helped the community remember the positive things about Ephraim and the impact she had on those who knew her.
“She made me feel good about myself… always confident and strong in her opinions,” Katz said. “She impacted me by being a wonderful friends toward me and by brightening up my day.”
University chaplains as well as the Counseling Center (305-284-5511) are available to assist students.