A candlelight vigil was held on Oct. 23, in honor of UWM student, Ian Elliott, who passed away three days prior. Held in the Union Fireside Alumni lounge, the ceremony the room to capacity with friends, family and acquaintances of Elliott’s who lit fireless candles in his honor and watched as pictures were displayed from a projector.
Michael Lovell, Chancellor of UW-Milwaukee, praised Elliot for his contributions on campus. Elliott worked in the mailroom at UWM’s School of Education and was majoring in Developmental Economics and International Development.
Those who knew him best describe Elliott as a goofball and a hard worker. Stories were shared about Elliott’s achievements and antics.
Maggie Iken was one of Elliott’s good friends. During her speech at the ceremony, she said that Elliott was the kind of person who “put people ahead of himself a lot.” Iken held up a shirt with a picture of a pug on it. She told the audience that one night, while on a trip in New York, she decided to stay in while the rest of the group, including Elliott, went out to explore the city.
“I got this picture [on my phone] from Ian with this shirt as the picture. I love pugs and he knew that. Then, he just sent me another text that said, ‘What size?’ and picked it up for me.”
On her Facebook site, Elliott’s mother, Candi Elliott said she enjoyed the vigil. “Spending the time with Ian’s friends, peers, co-workers and university faculty last night was the most amazing, heart healing experience! My son made a difference in so many people’s lives and his memory will live on through them.”
The news of Elliott’s passing shocked a lot of people. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to completely understand why this happened,” said Jerome Scott, a mechanical engineer major at UWM and friend of Elliott’s.
Bailey Kittle was in disbelief when he heard the news of his friend’s passing. “I didn’t think it was true at first. Nothing can prepare you for getting that sort of news,” he said. “It seemed like everything got quiet for a second.”
It’s clear that even after his passing, Elliott is still able to look out for others. Iken says that school and other commitments made it hard to find time to keep in touch with the group of friends she shared with Elliott. “Since this has happened, we’re all talking to each other and it’s bringing us together. It’s just unfortunate that it’s bring us together in this way,” she said.