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UNCC Unveils Memorial Design At 2-Year Remembrance Program For Mass Shooting

A rendering of the memorial planned to honor those affected, injured and killed in a 2019 mass shooting at UNCC.
A rendering of the memorial planned to honor those affected, injured and killed in a 2019 mass shooting at UNCC.

At a ceremony Friday marking two years since a gunman killed two students at UNC Charlotte and injured four others, the school unveiled the design plan for a memorial to honor those who were affected by the tragedy.

The planned "constellation garden" is the culmination of a $1 million memorial recommended by the Niner Nation Remembrance Commission more than a year ago.

The memorial will stand outside the Kennedy Building, where the shooting occurred in room 236. The design follows the orientation of the stars above that building, and lights will be activated when people touch the memorial's arched structure.

A plaque will honor Riley Howell and Reed Parlier, the two students who were killed in the shooting. Groundbreaking is scheduled for April 2022.

A nighttime rendering of the memorial.
A nighttime rendering of the memorial.

The memorial design was submitted by TEN X TEN Landscape Architecture and Urbanism, Hypersonic Collaborative and Susan Hatchell Landscape Architecture, and was selected from a total of 36 submissions.

"The depiction of the stars, portrayed by lights that are activated when people touch the memorial’s arched structure, the adjacent gathering spaces that feature plants imbued with deep symbolism represent emotions such as sorrow, divine sacrifice, strength, hope, love and peace," said Brook Muller, dean of UNCC's College of Art + Architecture and chair of the Memorial Jury, in a news release. "And stone benches etched with the names of Reed and Riley create an atmosphere of contemplation and reflection, with textured earthbound elements complementing those that are high-tech."

The design was unveiled during UNCC's virtual Day of Remembrance program, which concluded with the ringing of the UNCC ceremonial bell at 5:40 p.m. — the time of the 2019 shooting.

Earlier in the day, there was a ceremonial wreath laying by the UNCC Department of Police and Public Safety at the Kennedy Building, and throughout the day the school hosted virtual and in-person events to bring together faculty, staff and students.

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Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.