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University of Akron Dedicates Remembrance Garden

University of Akron Remembrance Garden map
map showing location of Remembrance Garden

An annual Remembrance Day at the University of Akron has led to creation of a Remembrance Garden honoring students, faculty and employees who have died.

At the dedication this week,  attendees walked from ballroom of the Jean Hower Taber Student Union  to the Remembrance Garden located between Olin Hall, Bierce Library and Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences.

There, they placed carnations on a large stone that reads “Forever a Zip.” The university’s student government is developing plans for what else will go in the green space near the center of campus.

The garden sprung from Remembrance Day, which each year is marked by a community service project.

Students launched Remembrance Day in 2016 as a way to honor Zakareia Husein, a 21-year old international business student killed Dec. 7, 2015 during a robbery at his family’s Akron pizza shop.

Marketing professor Doug Hausknecht worked with students to organize Remembrance Day.

“It created positive feelings in the wake of a tragic death,” he said. “And people felt this is a good way to remember really anybody, to acknowledge someone’s passing, and to remember them and do good deeds in their name, so it carried on.”

Remembrance Day grew when Husein’s friend and Remembrance Day organizer Duncan Unternaher was killed Dec. 5, 2016 by his roommate. Unternaher was a 23-year old UA business major.

Hausknecht, who mentored Unternaher and considered him a friend, said the Remembrance Garden and the day are intended to also help the families heal after the loss of a loved one.

“They don’t know that much about the child’s life at the university,” Hausknecht said. “And being able to come to the university and kind of share a moment with friends - that their child, or brother or sister had this other existence amongst other people to whom they were important - that’s been a real god moment.”

For this year’s Remembrance Day, the Husein-Unternaher service project will take place Friday, April 26 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Akron Canton Regional Food Bank.  Visit the University of Akron website for more information.

Jennifer Conn joined WKSU in February 2019 as Akron reporter.