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Campus packs Great Hall to celebrate Pochter ’15

Campus packs Great Hall to celebrate Pochter ’15

By Alex Harrover

On Sunday, members of the Kenyon community gathered in Peirce Dining Hall for a service remembering Andrew Driscoll Pochter ’15. Pochter was killed in the midst of violent protests in Alexandria, Egypt on Friday, June 28. Pochter’s family was seated in the front of the Great Hall while friends, alumni, faculty, staff and students representing all class years sat behind in support. President Sean Decatur delivered the welcoming remarks.

“We are brought here today ナ bound by our common desire, indeed need, to celebrate the life of Andrew Pochter,” Decatur said. Although Decatur never had the chance to meet Pochter, he “had heard a great deal” of a man who was “truly remarkable.”

Taylor Scult ’15 said she had found solace by writing letters to Pochter, one of which she shared with the crowd. “I have to be entirely honest with you,” Scult read from her letter. “I am really, really angry, and frustrated, and confused, and heart-broken. I am having difficulty finding peace in your death. ナ You should be here right now.”

Rebecca Varnell ’15 lived with Andrew in Hillel House last year. She, too, read from a letter she wrote for Pochter. “I know tragedy is supposed to spawn creativity, but thinking of you doesn’t make me want to create or destroy,” Varnell said. “I put the leaves back on the trees to keep the seasons from changing, to keep Kenyon the way you left it.”

The largest group to pay tribute to Pochter was his fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi, whose brothers sang their song “Xaipe.” Xaipe translates from Greek as “Hail,” in the context of rejoicing. Scult spoke of Pochter’s relationship with his male friends.

“For the past two years,” she recited, “I’ve been able to witness the most extraordinary friendships emerge between you and your ナ guy friends. The love you have for one another exceeds any regular bromance.”

Adam Reed ’15, who helped compose a musical piece in Pochter’s honor, also read remarks from Sarah Gold ’15, who was unable to attend because she is studying abroad. “I remember when my pet fish died freshman year. [Pochter] found a shovel and helped me dig a hole. Upon his excellent suggestion, we buried my pet fish out in the direction of Mecca,” Gold wrote.

Hillel Director Marc Bragin brought the service to a close with a final benediction. “When our loved ones, our friends, are gone, we ナ are left with the task of recomposing our lives. But what we made within us enabled us to re-enter the gates of life and tomorrow’s tasks,” he told a standing crowd. “We know that Andrew is beside us, still, when we draw upon the times we shared ナ to make music with love and memory in our hearts.”

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