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Events planned at NIU as 10th anniversary of shooting nears

Laurel Dubowski places a yellow flower at the base of each memorial during a ceremony outside of Cole Hall on Feb. 14, 2017, at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.
Laurel Dubowski places a yellow flower at the base of each memorial during a ceremony outside of Cole Hall on Feb. 14, 2017, at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

DeKALB – Feb. 14 will mark the 10 years since a former NIU student walked into Room 101 in Cole Hall and opened fire, killing five students and injuring 21 others before turning the gun on himself.

University officials said marking the anniversary is a healing process, and an opportunity to showcase how far the university’s community – past, present and future – has come.

“We wanted to provide opportunities for all to remember those we lost, and to reflect on how we have moved forward since that day,” Kelly Wesener-Michael, NIU’s vice president of student affairs, said in a news release.

The university will showcase progress, recovery and tenacity with these events:

• Community appreciation reception, 4:30 p.m., Friday in the Capitol Room of the Holmes Student Center: Faculty, staff, community members, first responders, public safety staff and medical personnel are invited to gather for refreshments and fellowship.

• Candlelight vigil, 6 p.m. Friday at Martin Luther King Commons: All are invited to light candles and reflect on the healing and strength of the community. NIU campus leaders will speak and candles will be provided.

• Reflection walk, 10 a.m. Feb. 10 at the NIU Recreation Center: A 2.14-mile walk will allow individuals and groups to walk through a course in the NIU Recreation Center with opportunities for reflection along the route.

• First responders recognition, Feb. 10: First responders who came to the aid of the university in 2008 will be honored during the men’s/women’s basketball doubleheader. First responders will be honored during a pregame flag presentation leading up to the 1 p.m. tipoff between the NIU women's team and Bowling Green, and those they also will be acknowledged during an honor guard ceremony before the tipoff between the NIU men and Buffalo at 3:30 p.m. A halftime reception will take place during the men's game.

• Forward. Together: A Concert in Tribute, 8 p.m. Feb. 10 at Boutell Hall: The set list will be geared toward the community's resilience and healing.

• Laying of the Memorial Wreaths, 3 p.m. Feb. 14, outside Cole Hall: Wreaths will be placed on the memorial stones at the Peaceful Reflection Garden. Bells will be tolled at 3:06 p.m.

Starting Monday the Pick Museum of Anthropology will also host a special exhibit, Forward, Together Forward: Remembering, in the Gallery Lounge of the Holmes Student Center. The installation will include items from university archives that show response to the tragedy, and will examine how the campus has rebuilt and recovered since that day. The exhibit will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Feb 11 to 14, and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Feb. 10.

For information about the events, visit go.niu.edu/forward, or call 815-753-1573.

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