Southern reflects on death of student

Southern reflects on death of student

courtesy photo

Southern reflects on death of student

She was a part of “the crew.” They gather by the bank of computers just outside the Lion’s Den and visit but this week they were missing one of their members.

Kathleen Cunningham, senior general studies major, passed away at home Nov. 2.

Cunningham lived alone but had adopted a close circle of friends Southern. A.D. Hoyt, senior mass communication major said Cunningham was like family.

“She lived for school,” Hoyt said. “She loved this place, everyone she loves was here. She lived here at the school, she felt like she could fit in here.”Cunningham wrote for both The Chart, as assistant editor and Crossroads during her time at the University.

“The side of Kathleen people did not see was she really card for things that she put her mind to,” said Nate Billings, graduate student of arts and teaching who worked with Cunningham during her time at The Chart. “Despite some of the hardships she had to go through to make it to school she overcame them to be here when she was needed.”

Dr. Karolyn Yocum, professor of communication described Cunningham as “committed” in her efforts at school. “She probably did more with less than most do,” Yocum said. “She probably worked harder, even with her disability, she worked harder than most students do to reach her goals.”

Goals Cunningham articulated during her an early class, to graduate and to better herself and others. Yocum describes Cunning hams as a person of very high character, ethical and honest with herself and others.

Cunningham struggled with health difficulties during her the fall semester, eventually taking a medical leave-of-absence with plans to return next semester.

“I think it was because we were such good friends we were thinking the best,” Hoyt said.

Cunningham adored her twelve-year-old cat ‘Boots’ who she had raised from a kitten and often told stories about her cat.

“Boots was her baby,” Hoyt said. “We’d swap pet stories like most people would swap baby stories.”

Friends say that upon graduation Cunningham hoped to work with a non-profit organization to help those in need.

“That’s what really defined Kathleen,” Billings said. “She was always looking for something that was going to help her to help others.”

Announcement of services is pending arrival of family.