A memorial service for Millicent Morros, a Goshen College adult student who was shot and killed last week, was held Monday evening in Goshen College’s Newcomer Center.
Seventy-five friends, family and coworkers attended Morros’ memorial service. Fellow classmates and coworkers reflected on her life between hymns, psalm readings and prayers. One prayer reflected on the themes of love, life and light.
“That language is so wonderful,” President Jim Brenneman said in reaction to the prayer. “It expresses our hope.”
The speakers described Morros as a woman who was a passionate learner and who loved Diet Coke, elephants, cats, Detroit and the Dallas Cowboys.
Morros first worked in manufacturing but then began working at a law firm in 2010. She began her Organizational Leadership degree in 2011.
Kent Miller, a classmate and friend of Morros, described her motivated personality. “She wanted more than she felt she could achieve in the factory," he said.
Another co-worker of Morros, Bodie Stegelmann, reflected on her friend's drive to complete her degree.
“All of Millicent’s education came while she was working full time,” said Stegelmann. “She was very driven.”
Morros spent some of her free time volunteering at Greencroft Communiies and reading to young elementary students.
“From the cradle to the grave, she was volunteering her life and gave herself,” Brenneman said.
Miller spoke about how many joyous, important, and sorrowful events their class walked together through, becoming closer and learning from each other through all of it.
“[Millicent] was somebody who continued to own the tough stuff, and it inspired the rest of us to strive to better ourselves through education and who we are," Miller said. "This was already happening, but her death brought it to the surface.”
Miller added, “She didn’t let the class forget it… If there was a new person she made sure we were aware there was someone to welcome.”
Morros’ class has been together for 18 months, and when new people came to class they spoke about the friendly and welcoming environment.
“I attribute a lot of it to Millicent making us be welcoming,” Miller said.
The conference room where the memorial was held is now a makeshift chapel with candles and low lighting, which workers are invited to use whenever they need to.
The memory of Morros' life will continue to be honored at Goshen College. At graduation, her classmates will wear fuchsia roses. Both her classmates and coworkers are discussing tree plantings and scholarship funds as potential ways to honor her.
The diploma Morros was on route to receive will be awarded in her name, posthumously, at graduation.
“We were hoping that was a possibility,” Miller said. “That brought us many tears as her classmates.”