There are times in life when we are faced with difficult, painful circumstances that change our lives forever, such as the death of a dearly loved family member or friend.
All of us at UW–Platteville mourn the recent loss of three of our students, a member of our faculty and a member of our staff.
It is especially tragic when young people who possess such potential and vigor for life so suddenly leave us. All were incredibly talented, creative individuals who had a positive impact on everyone whose lives they touched and brought spirit, energy and life to this university and the community. It’s hard to believe that our university has been faced with tragedy so many times in such a short period of time.
Christopher Holcomb was pursuing a major in English and creative writing and was an incredibly talented young man. He created music, played guitar and was a gifted writer. His first-person narrative entitled “My World for Now” was published in the 2011–2012 Stylus — An Anthology of Freshman Writing. Chris was from Monroe.
Stacy Chantel McGuire was pursuing a degree in business administration. She was a gifted leader, outstanding worker and confident public speaker. She was gracious, loved helping others and always looked for the good in people. She especially loved her daughter, Anastacia. Stacy was from Dodgeville.
Katie Binning graduated summa cum laude in May with a bachelor’s degree in art and education. While a student at UW–Platteville, she ran cross country and indoor and outdoor track, was a UW–Platteville Scholar--Athlete Day honoree and won numerous awards. She was devoted to being “freethinking, unconventional and optimistic.” She walked in the commencement ceremonies on May 12 and was completing her student teaching as an art teacher at Wisconsin Heights High School. A piece of her artwork will be displayed in UW–Platteville’s Rountree Commons. Katie was from Abbotsford.
Michael Ley joined the student center staff as a custodian in 1996. Throughout his many years of service, he was always dependable, hardworking and dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. Michael’s character and his work ethic were extraordinary and he never let obstacles stand in his way. He was deeply respected and appreciated by all those who knew him. Michael was from Platteville.
Dr. Anthony “Tony” Thomas was a professor of mathematics, beginning as an assistant professor in 1994 and progressing to full professor in 2004. He was passionate about his teaching and was known as a caring, engaged and devoted professor. He will be remembered for being helpful and patient in helping students solve the mysteries of mathematics. Tony also possessed a deep love of music and was well known as the lead guitarist of the local rock band Fallen Roadies. As a teacher and as a musician, Tony touched the lives of many people. Tony was from Platteville.
We extend our condolences to the families and friends of these very special people. They will not be forgotten. While they were here, each of them made her or his own unique and lasting mark on this university, the community and the people who live here.
Other members of our university community also passed away, including retired faculty and alumni. Unfortunately, it is not possible to mention each person, which is not meant to be disrespectful to any family who lost a loved one. We must also recognize that over the course of the school year, in addition to the passing of these individuals, some of our students, faculty and staff lost family members, relatives or friends whom they loved and cared about. We extend our condolences to them as well.
These recent losses make us pause and consider what is truly important in all of our lives. While we may have different jobs, different focuses and, at times, different opinions, we are all brought together in times of tragedy. We are all Pioneers.