Hawks Stand with Paris

On the evening of Friday, November 13, the entire world was shaken by a series of terrorist attacks on France’s capital. As a result, we have seen countless acts of solidarity displayed by countries across the world.

paris goes dark

It was impossible to avoid the news on this tragedy. Coverage flooded every social media platform as well as every news outlet. In my apartment, we saw the news on Twitter and immediately turned on the TV to watch CNN while we ate dinner. People of all ages, across the world, were affected by this horrific event, and members of the Saint Joe’s community were no exception.

Photo via @saintjosephs
Barbelin lit up in the French colors. Photo via @saintjosephs

Two days after the attack, Saint Joseph’s joined the many major institutions lighting up their buildings to honor those affected by the tragedy. Barbelin, the university’s most iconic building, was lit up in the colors of the French flag to show our solidarity with the victims in Paris. Photos the building surfaced all over social media, as students expressed their pride for the display.

On the Wednesday following the attack, the university hosted a candlelight vigil for all those affected by this event. It took place at 5pm in the chapel, and many members of the community attended to pay their respects.

Saint Joe’s also has a very personal connection to the events in Paris. Four of our students, Tahliah D’Ottavio, ’17, Vanessa Marques, ’17, Sara Leonetti, ’17, and Andrew Nguyen, ’17 are currently studying abroad in the City of Lights. On the following Tuesday, President Mark C. Reed sent an email to the SJU community letting us know that the students were safe. The email reads:

Dear Members of the SJU Community:

We are so grateful that all SJU students studying in France and abroad have been accounted for.  I want to thank all University staff – in particular the Center for International Programs – who have been in contact with our students and providing whatever assistance and support we can.

We also offer our prayers and condolences to all the families and friends of all who have suffered in the attacks in Paris and Beirut in recent days.

At the initiation and request of the Undergraduate Student Senate, the lights on the Barbelin Tower on Sunday evening began shining the blue, white, and red colors of the French flag and will continue to do so for the rest of this week.  Thanks to the Facilities Management staff for making this happen so quickly.


Mark C. Reed, Ed.D.

Whether or not we knew the students personally, I think the whole community breathed a sigh of relief upon receiving this email. Later in the week, we got to hear the stories of these students in a special article in The Hawk, “From Paris, with Love.” The students wrote about their experience during and after the attacks. To read these stories, click here to view the online issue of The Hawk. 

During horrific events like this one, I consider myself very lucky to be apart of such a strong, supportive community. Tragedies affect different people in different ways, but at SJU, we all mourn together. No matter what we go through, the Hawk Will Never Die.


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