A memorial service will be held tomorrow for Engineering junior Rebecca Hilger, who was killed Dec. 30 in a car accident.
Hilger was on a skiing trip in Arizona with boyfriend Patrick Kelly, a student at the University of Arizona. The trip was meant to be a present for Hilger, whose 21st birthday was Dec. 31.
The car she was driving was struck head-on by a truck. Kelly was injured and is still recovering from the crash.
Tomorrow”s memorial will be held at 7 p.m. in the Michigan Union Ballroom. Kinesiology junior Traci Buchalski, who helped organize the service with several of Hilger”s closest friends, said it will remember her life and provide anyone who wishes to speak a chance to do so.
SNRE junior Amanda Sprader, who was a close friend of Hilger”s while the two attended Northville High School and the University together, said the memorial will provide closure for her friend”s death. She said Hilger”s most unique characteristic was love for her family.
“Her sister, Shelly, and her brother, Chris, were special to her,” said Chuck Hilger, Rebecca”s father. “She would surprise them by showing up at Shelly”s cross-country meets or Chris”s basketball games just to see them perform. She would help them with math over the phone if they were stuck on a problem.”
Hilger said his daughter also cared deeply for her friends, who he said often told him “of how she always inspired them and kept them going.”
“Rebecca was the most heart-warming person I met in my life,” said Buchalski, a member of Rebecca Hilger”s sorority, Gamma Phi Beta. “She met everyone with an open heart.”
Buchalski said Hilger was a diligent student who made her assignments a top priority, but she also was fun and uplifting, especially when one of her friends was in a bad mood.
Susan Montgomery, an undergraduate adviser for chemical engineering, said Hilger had a passion for biology and planned to develop a career combining public health with engineering. Montgomery, who helped develop Hilger”s class schedule, said she received a letter of introduction before meeting her, in which she wrote, “I want to help people and see my results directly.”
Montgomery added that although Hilger”s freshman year was difficult, she learned a lot and was proud of her success at the University.
In addition to her schoolwork, Hilger was an active member of Women in Science and Engineering and also served as Gamma Phi Beta”s vice president of member education, planning social events and creating camaraderie among members, Buchalski said.
Hilger also developed a complete spiritual life through her involvement in St. Mary”s Student Parish and Young Life, a Christian youth group, her father said.