The University of Virginia has approved the decision to award posthumous degrees to the three football players killed in a shooting last month.
Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler, and D’Sean Perry were all College of Arts & Sciences students. According to UVA, the request was initiated by Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs Rachel Most, who served as dean for all three students in the College.
Davis, a junior from Ridgeville, South Carolina, was pursuing a degree in African American and African studies. Chandler, a sophomore from Huntersville, North Carolina, studied American studies. Perry, a senior from Miami, was a studio art and African American and African studies double major.
Each student’s diploma was printed and delivered to Director of Athletics Carla Williams, who attended all three hometown funerals alongside UVA President Jim Ryan and other university and athletics faculty and staff.
“It was an honor to be a part of presenting these diplomas to Devin, Lavel, and D’Sean’s families,” Williams said in a UVA news release.
Davis, Chandler, and Perry were killed on Nov. 13 when former University of Virginia football player Christopher Jones Jr. allegedly opened fire on a charter bus returning from a field trip to Washington, D.C.
Jones was reportedly not on the team at the same time as the victims.
Two other students, Mike Hollins and Marlee Morgan, were injured in the shooting, but have since been released from the hospital, according to the university.
Hollins is one of seven football players anticipated to complete the requirements for their undergraduate degrees this month. The football team reportedly celebrated the players’ achievements last week.
Over 9,000 people attended an emotional memorial service held by the university on Nov. 19. At the vigil, head football coach Tony Elliott referred to the three slain players as “lights” who will guide their teammates.
The university also held its 21st annual Lighting on the Lawn ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 1, giving students another opportunity to remember Davis, Chandler, and Perry. Normally, a holiday poem is read at the event, but four people, including Elliot, read a poem honoring the young men.
“Let us remember them all in the light that we share, and fuel any dim ember into an energetic glare,” Elliot said while on stage, according to the university. “This semester has given us hard realities to face. But we face them together and we do so with grace.”
Admissions Associate Julie Caruccio was another of the four readers on stage. She also works at UVA’s mounted Cavalier and rides her horse, Sabre, into Scott Stadium before every home football game.
“Tonight, three bright stars shine above our heads. Devin, Lavel, and D’Sean, for lighting us up “Caruccio read.
The only lights on during the performances were large illuminated numbers representing Davis’, Chandler’s, and Perry’s respective jersey numbers – 1, 15, and 41.