By C. Harold Pierce
Friends and family gathered last Tuesday to remember late speech communications professor Kesha Curtis-Hondo, who was awarded a posthumous honorary certificate.
In 2010, Curtis started @One, a rigorous online teacher-training program, but didn’t live to finish the courses. On May 20, she became the program’s first graduate.
A victim of domestic violence, Curtis passed away in 2011 at the age of 39 in a murder-suicide.
Her mother, Diana Smith, step-father, Michael Smith, brother and her two daughters accepted the certificate in her honor.
Before the ceremony, they gathered at a cherry blossom tree planted in the northeast corner of campus in Curtis’ memory. It was her favorite, colleague Vera Holder said.
Her family traveled from Las Vegas, where they live, to visit the monument for the first time.
“She was loved by so many, and she loved being here. This is so important for her daughters to see, and when my son gets older, it’s definitely a place I’ll bring him,” said Isaac Curtis, Kesha’s younger brother.
Faculty and friends described Curtis as one of the college’s rising stars.
Her daughters strung colorful paper cranes across the tree.
[quote]“The cranes represent a young girl whose life ended too soon because of radiation poisoning in Japan,” Holder said. The girl began folding 1,000 cranes before she died. The Communications Studies Club is finishing them for her.[/quote]
Others remembered her in more personal ways.
Communications professor Lance Lockwood lifted his sleeve, revealing a tattoo depicting an ornate piece of art and two cherry blossoms, one for each daughter she left behind.
“I sat through eight hours of pain for her,” Lockwood told Kesha’s mother through tearful laughter.