Radford Community Celebrates Alexa Cannon’s Life with a Vigil of Remembrance

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By Jeremy Moser & Dylan Lepore | jmoser9@radford.edu & dlepore1@radford.edu

Late Wednesday night, Jan. 30 Radford University hosted a vigil of remembrance and observance in the wake of Alexa Cannon’s death.

Hundreds of students gathered into the MAC Court of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center to pay respects to Radford student Alexa Cannon. In her honor, they were asked to wear blue, Alexa’s favorite color and to carry blue glow sticks, which substituted for candlelight.

This comes nearly a week after Alexa’s death as what was once her roommate, Luisa Ines Tudela Harris Cutting, now stands charged with her murder.

In the opening of the event, a projector screen displayed a photo of Alexa with a smile that greeted the crowd as they came in and set the tone of “Light and love,” as Radford University President Brian Hemphill summed up in an email.

“This campus cannot – and will not – be defined by this tragedy,” said in Dr. Hemphill’s email. “We have chosen to be defined by our connection as a caring and supportive community and our outpouring of comfort and support to Alexa’s family, loved ones and each other. I encourage all Highlanders to continue honoring Alexa’s legacy by sharing your light and love with others. I also ask that we continue supporting each other in the days and months to come. “

The Radford Latino Student Alliance and other students, faculty, and family who knew Alexa went up to the podium to say a few words in her honor.

Psychology professor Dr. Stirling Barfield shared her personal stories about Alexa as well. She recounted her memories of Alexa’s positive attitude as she struggled with epilepsy.

“She never stopped smiling,” Dr. Barfield said. “You will forever be a light in our hearts.”

A short video played some time after which displayed photos of Alexa with her friends and family to music. Afterward, everyone was instructed to leave and join in on a “remembrance walk.”

Into the bitter cold, everyone walked tightly together with blue glow sticks lit. The route took them directly to the Radford fountain in the center of the university. They had dyed the fountain’s water blue, but it had frozen over in the frigid air.

A small stage housed a surprise performance which the audience joined in to sing I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe as they waved their glow sticks in the air.

Finally, the night closed with a silent prayer and as the blue lights reached the sky; the Radford community grew a small step closer to healing from its loss.

Photo Credit: (Oakeys)