The construction of a memorial in honor of UR student Jeffrey Bordeaux, Jr. is making strides, according to Associate Dean of Students Anne-Marie Algier.
Bordeaux, Jr. died the morning of Saturday, Jan. 15 after fellow UR student Daren Venable stabbed him four times in response to Bordeaux, Jr.’s reportedly aggressive behavior at a party held in the Delta Upsilon Fraternity House. Venable was later declared not guilty on a charge of murder in the second degree, with an argument of self defense, by Judge John L. DeMarco on April 21.
Plans for the memorial — ideas for which began to blossom in February — started shortly before spring break of the 2010-2011 academic year. A committee consisting of faculty, staff and students was formed, which brought forth many ideas for the memorial, such as a plaque in the Goergen Athletic Center, where Bordeaux, Jr. worked. However, the final consensus, confirmed in March, incorporates a bench and a tree native to Asia — the continent that Bordeaux, Jr. had planned to study abroad last semester.
“People wanted to do something,” Algier, who heads the committee, said. “[They] really wanted to do something positive out of such a horrible tragedy.”
The tree, a yoshino cherry native to Japan, has already arrived on the River Campus and is currently being kept safe until winter passes.
“The cherry tree is of a variety we do not already have on campus and will be a nice addition to our arboretum,” Horticulture and Grounds Manager Daniel Schied said.
The bench will be similar to those used on much of the River Campus, except that it will have a plaque commemorating Bordeaux, Jr. attached to it.
The memorial will be situated near the stairs between Strong Auditorium and Lattimore Hall, adjacent to an existing collection of cherry trees. This location was chosen because it is in a central part of campus in view of Goergen.
An area across from Goergen on the Residential Quad was considered as well, but was rejected because of the concern that the tree would not stand out among the existing plant life.
“The final selection near Todd Union is a wonderful ‘crossroads’ for student travels and will provide a nice restful setting for those sitting there,” Schied, who helped finalize the memorial’s location, said.
Fundraising for the memorial has been successful — all of the money has already been raised.
“It was great to see support from the community,” junior Marissa Balonon-Rosen, who helped plan the 5K, said.
Algier plans to reconvene the committee soon to continue discussing plans for the memorial, including ideas for a dedication ceremony.
“I don’t think it should be ostentatious,” she said. “I think it should be simple but nice, and I would like that to come from the people that knew him most.”
Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, director of graduate recruitment at the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences and Engineering, who was part of the original planning committee, also had unpretentious expectations for the dedication.
“I hope that [it] will be an opportunity for the campus to come together in remembrance and in a spirit of healing and community,” she said.
She also hopes that since Bordeaux, Jr. was well-known in the Rochester area that the community will also be included in the dedication and that his family will be welcomed to attend and participate, as well.
According to Algier, there have not been many roadblocks in working toward the memorial. The biggest challenge, she said, was organizing the 5K in a short period of time.
The memorial will be put up in April or May, once the weather is nicer and the ground has become soft enough for the tree to be planted.
“We owe it to Jeff and Daren and ourselves to never forget and to create campus climate where something like this never happens again,” Sinclair-Chapman said.
Goldin is a member of the class of 2013.