More than 100 students and staff gathered quietly at the intersection of Conlin Road and Simcoe Street in Oshawa Thursday night to honour the memory of UOIT student Rhyss Glenfield.
The 19-year-old game development student from Mitchell, Ont. was struck by an SUV around 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 14 while crossing the intersection. He succumbed to his injuries before he arrived at the hospital, according to Durham Regional Police.
Students, faculty and other community members lit candles, hugged, shed tears and placed flowers at the memorial site as it snowed.
“I’m still feeling an overwhelming sadness, grief and mourning,” said Dr. Steven Murphy, president and vice-chancellor at UOIT.
“The outpouring of support from our students, from our faculty, from our staff, it was an overwhelming crowd to look out into,” he said.
Murphy stood centre of the crowd and gave an emotional speech about Glenfield. He emphasized how tough times such as these reveal the “close-knit” UOIT and DC campus community.
A passage was read from Glenfield’s father, who was unable to be at the vigil. He expressed grief for his son, but also had thoughts for the driver, who Durham Regional Police say was 18-years-old.
“I think that his family, I know from talking to his father, that they would be extremely happy to know that they’re supported and loved by such a large community,” said a sombre Murphy.
After the speech, everyone shared a long moment of silence for Glenfield.
Murphy did not know Glenfield personally, but said he heard many stories of how he was very active and filled with ambition in his time in his program.
“I just encourage our students to think about ways to memorialize him,” Murphy said. “It’s very important for us to always keep him in the forefront of our thoughts because it could be any one of us.”