The University will honor the lives of students Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis, Jr. and D’Sean Perry with a memorial tree planting and a plaque dedication Sept. 8. The event will take place at the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and is open to any member of the University or local Charlottesville community — registration is optional but encouraged.
The President’s office organized the event to remember Chandler, Davis and Perry as members of the University community and Virginia football teammates. Cecil Banks, executive director for major events and external relations for the President’s office, said the location of the tree and plaque intentionally place the memorial close to Culbreth Garage — the site of the Nov. 13 shooting.
“This event will be a unique and moving ceremony that will give the University community an opportunity to remember the victims and reflect on the events of Nov. 13, and I hope many students will attend,” Banks said in an email statement to the Cavalier Daily. “[It] will truly be a moment of unity.”
Members of the community have previously memorialized the losses of Chandler, Davis and Perry by leaving flowers and messages in the area following the tragedy. The walls of Beta Bridge have also remained painted since Nov. 15 as a memorial to the lives lost in the shooting.
Banks said the idea for a memorial tree planting came from several conversations between President Jim Ryan, Director of Athletics Carla Williams, senior administrators, faculty members and student leaders.
“The University has a tradition that dates back over 100 years of planting commemorative trees to recognize members of the community who have contributed to U.Va. in significant ways,” Banks said.
Some of these trees include a tree outside of the Rotunda planted to memorialize Thomas Jefferson on his 250th birthday and another for former Director of Athletics William A. Lambeth outside of Madison Hall.
The event will also feature remarks by Ryan, Williams and Rector Robert Hardie.
All attendees will be able to contribute to the event by scopping soil onto the base. Banks said that this tradition began during the Founder’s Day tree planting ceremony April 13, which honors a University community member every year.