UNH Remembers Stirling Danskin

Isaak Kifle

On Wednesday, April 11, 2012, the university community, as well as many outside that community suffered a great loss. Early that day,

The vigil ended with a moment of silence, but afterwards, students left a memorial in the center of the quad using the remaining candles and supplies from the vigil.

it was discovered that a body had been found on Chancy Street, very close to campus. Later that same day, President Kaplan sent out an email announcing to the community that the body found was that of Stirling Danskin, a sophomore music and sound recording major at UNH. He was declared deceased as soon as medical personnel arrived on the scene, and the exact time of death is unknown. As soon as this news hit, counseling services were made available to students for extended hours, and University Chaplain Marty O’Connor remained available to students that day until midnight.

Students were just as quick in their response to the tragic news.  The Music & Entertainment Student Association (MEISA) and Audio Engineering Society, two organizations Stirling was a part of, as well as DRK Productions, a New England-based event production company, immediately began planning a memorial event with assistance from the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) and Class of 2014 Officers. This event took place a week later, on Wednesday, April 18, in two parts. First, at 7:00 p.m., a concert/rave took place at the German Club to highlight Stirling’s passion for music.

Following the concert was a candlelight vigil held in the Bixler/Botwinik Quad beginning at 9:00 p.m. Attendance was huge and included President Kaplan, Dean of Students Rebecca Johnson, Marty O’Connor, Stirling’s family, and many other staff members along with enough students to nearly fill the quad. O’Connor began the event with a few poems and words on how people need to come together in times like this to overcome the tragedy. He then handed the microphone over the President Kaplan, who explained his role in having to inform Stirling’s parents of his death and how finding the right words to say in cases like this is impossible at times. Stirling’s father spoke next and the floor was then opened to anyone who wanted to speak. While there was a slow start, soon after a large number of people started coming up and speaking, including not only current UNH students, but graduates that had known Stirling as well as friends of his from outside the university.

The vigil ended with a moment of silence, but afterwards, students left a memorial in the center of the quad using the remaining candles and supplies from the vigil. A memorial service was held on Saturday, April 21 at 10:00 a.m. in the Connecticut College Harkness Chapel in New London, CT. It is clear that Stirling Danskin will be missed by the entire university community and everyone who knew him.