By Sam Gringlas, Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 10, 2013
A memorial service will be held Wednesday for Courtney Wilson, a doctoral student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, who died Monday after a series of neurological problems over the weekend.
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SNRE faculty and students will gather in the Dana Building’s Ford Commons to reflect upon and celebrate Wilson’s life between noon and 1 p.m.
Wilson, who completed her master’s degree at SNRE, had been studying the use of satellite images to analyze paved surfaces in Southeast Michigan. She was one of six students.
In an interview Tuesday, SNRE dean Marie Lynn Miranda said Wilson had a joyful spirit, an incredible work ethic and was especially interested in the ways human activity affects lands and ecosystems.
In an e-mail sent to SNRE faculty and students Tuesday, Miranda noted Wilson, “not surprisingly,” was an organ donor. Honoring her dedication to the life sciences, Wilson’s parents have agreed to an autopsy that they hope will advance medical knowledge since Wilson’s condition occurred suddenly and has yet to be diagnosed.
“This entire situation is difficult beyond measure,” Miranda wrote. “The SNRE community is devastated.”
Miranda said the death of a student is one of “the most painful things for the entire community.” Moving forward, the dean said she’ll try to highlight the strength of the SNRE community — one Wilson passionately helped to build — as students and faculty deal with the loss of a colleague and friend. She said many members of the community have already been telling stories, sharing anecdotes and remembering their positive interactions with Wilson.
She also encouraged students and faculty to seek additional resources if needed, such as speaking with a counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services, which is located on the third floor of the Michigan Union.
Miranda said Wilson’s death serves as a reminder to value the importance of open lines of communication, both in times of tragedy and in the everyday functioning of a school.
“Life is exquisitely fragile,” Miranda wrote in her email. “Call everyone you love and tell them so.”