Raven’s Call ceremony to honor lost students

Sam Houston State University is home to dozens of traditions that help define what it means to be a Bearkat. For the last four years, university ambassadors have established a new tradition, the Raven’s Call ceremony.

Named after General Sam Houston, who adopted the moniker of Raven throughout his lifetime, the newest campus tradition is a memorial service intended to recognize and remember students, alumni, faculty and staff who have passed away over the previous year.

This year’s ceremony will be held on April 15 at 12:00 p.m. at the Ron and Ruth Blatchley Bell Tower.

Jaelan Jackson, Vice President of Programming for Orange Keys and the Raven’s Call chair, said this ceremony is a way to celebrate the lives of past and current students.

“The event showcases the deceased’s pride in and loyalty to our university and celebrates their memory with family, friends, and current students, faculty and staff,” Jackson said.

As a part of developing the tradition, the Orange Keys have experimented with different ideas on how best to memorialize those lost.

At the original Raven’s Call ceremony, the Orange Keys would release balloons for each of the lost Bearkats but it was not environmentally conscience so they had to find another way to honor the students.

“[We] came up with the moveable monument that was introduced in last year’s ceremony, where for each name that is called, a single orange or white rose is placed in that person’s memory,” Jackson said.

The event takes place by the Ron and Ruth Blatchley Bell Tower and in honor of the event, a stone monument is situated in front of the tower.

“We will have students from the College of Music playing stringed instruments as a prelude to our service and open with a presentation of the colors by the SHSU ROTC,” Jackson said. “Chasti Brown will then perform Amazing Grace and I will welcome everyone with a speech.”

The ceremony is an important moment, as SHSU honors those who have borne its motto “The measure of a life is its service.” While still a relatively new tradition, since spring of 2012, it has solidified itself as an important pause amidst the bustle of school life.

“President Hoyt will bring words of comfort and Dean Yarabeck will provide a roll call of the fallen Bearkats while Orange Keys place roses in the Raven’s Call monument,” Jackson said. “Tyler Patek, Orange Keys President, will bring the closing remarks, Chasti Brown will close with the SHSU Alma Mater and ROTC will close the colors.”

Dean of Students John Yarabeck said this ceremony is a vital part of the traditions at SHSU, as it gives back to students who were once a part of the university family.

“Raven’s Call to me is one of the most meaningful and powerful traditions that we have at SHSU,” Yarabeck said. “It gives us the opportunity to recognize the contributions each of these Bearkats made to who we are as a campus community.”

The following people will be honored.


Burwick, Mary

Davis, Francis

Davis, Jesse

Dunning, Robert

Galbraith, Charles

Higgins, Thomas

Hightower, Ralph

Jannett, Ernest “Pete”

Johnson, Melvin

Johnson, James

Thomas (Martin), Murdelle

Roe, Joy

Sanders, Minnie

Stewart, Robert

Sweeney, Vernon

Taylor, David

Tucker, Shirley

Tyson, Barbara

Weinert, Eugene

Westmoreland, Margaret

Williams, Geraldine

Williams (Johnson), Annie


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