Memorial service to be held for student killed at block party


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (September 30, 2013) — Tuskegee University student, Bobby J. Smith, Jr., a senior finance major from Mabelton, Ga., died Saturday, Sept. 28 in the early morning hours after sustaining a gunshot wound to the back. Smith was at an off-campus block party when a shooting occurred in the City of Tuskegee. Smith, 21, was also the father of an infant son.
Tuskegee University will hold a memorial service in remembrance of Smith Tuesday at 3 p.m. CST in the Tuskegee University Chapel. Counseling sessions will also be available today and Tuesday in the chapel.

Vigil for student
Students, faculty, administrators and friends gathered to mourn Smith’s death at a candlelight vigil on Saturday night. Organized by the Student Government Association, the vigil was held at the university’s tennis courts to honor Smith, who was a member of Tuskegee’s men’s tennis team.

Senior class president, Shaylean Perry, opened the ceremony and Mr. Tuskegee 2013-2014, Dominique Foster, gave a prayer. The event featured musical selections from the Tuskegee University Golden Voices Concert Choir, as well as participation of several student leaders, including SGA president, Kyle Spencer. Smith’s former teachers, friends, fellow classmates and tennis team members all shared their memories of the fallen student, long after the vigil ended.

Scholarship to be set up
Affectionately nicknamed “B.J.,” Smith was known for his easy sense of humor and was said to wake up every day with the goal of wanting to simply make people smile.

“He was a great man, ” one student said of Smith. “You don’t know why God does what he does.”

Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon also shared words of encouragement with the crowd and said that a scholarship will be set up in Smith’s name so he will be forever remembered as the scholar/athlete that he was.

“This is a terrible loss for Tuskegee and the Smith family,” Rochon said. “[We must] pledge that we will do everything we can to enhance both the security and the sustainable development of our surrounding community.”

By Karlette Sullivan, Tuskegee University Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing 

Photos by David Nixon, Tuskegee University Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing 

Photo of Smith with infant son.

Tuskegee University President, Dr. Gilbert L. Rochon and Mrs. Patricia S. Rochon speak with students at vigil.

Tuskegee University Golden Voices Choir sing at vigil.

Memorial poster to Smith displayed at vigil.

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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