Candlelight vigil held for Ladonis Owens

Vanderbilt students held a candlelight vigil to celebrate the life of campus dining worker Ladonis Owens Nov. 1


Emily Gonçalves

E. Bronson Ingram at sunset. (Photo by Emily Gonçalves)

Immanual John Milton, Deputy Campus Editor

Vanderbilt students held a candlelight vigil for Ladonis Owens Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. in the Branscomb Courtyard. Ladonis was a family member of the University who passed away on Oct. 22, 2019 at the age of 33. He worked on the campus dining team for 13 years and was widely loved by both his co-workers and the Vanderbilt student body. He is survived by his parents Darryl Brown and Carolyn Owens.

Vanderbilt’s student body remembers the positive impact that Ladonis left. 

“He had such a bright personality and he would always check in on me when I was studying for tests. If I was ever down, he would cheer me up.” junior Veer Shah said.

The vigil was hosted by Shah and Ladonis’ high school friend Jasma Marie. Around 25 students, friends and relatives of Ladonis came to pay their respects and celebrate Ladonis’ life and the impact he had on the Vanderbilt community. Several people spoke about the role that Ladonis played in their lives including his ex-manager, high school friend, his mother and his sister.

“I appreciate the celebration y’all gave him today. He’s going to be missed and I miss him. Ladonis has talked about y’all for thirteen years,” Ladonis’ mother Carolyn Owens said.

It’s easy for Vanderbilt students to forget about the special place dining workers hold on our campus; they commit so much of their time to Vanderbilt student life and genuinely care about the students, Shah said.

“We’re always talking to students on how to help the Nashville community. I feel like we’re always looking for ways to reach out, but we forget that dining workers live in the Vanderbilt and Nashville community. They’re part of both,” Shah said “What I really liked about this vigil was that it was a good example of Vanderbilt students and the Nashville community coming together.”

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