It was heartwarming to see so many of you at Tuesday’s vigil for Officer Christopher Fitzgerald. I felt our collective power and perseverance as we listened to the moving words and music in the cool early-evening breeze. Some may view it as symbolic, but I believe that coming together this way, sharing our grief, and holding him in our thoughts, is much more than that.
This terrible loss is a test, and how we react to it tells us something about ourselves and our community. We must learn. We must grow. We must extend ourselves. With determination and resolve, I believe we will find that our limits are higher and farther than we thought they were. Thank you, Officer Fitzgerald, for the opportunity to learn this valuable lesson. I only wish that you were still here, to lead us forward.
As I mentioned in my message on Tuesday, we are supporting Officer Fitzgerald’s family in a variety of ways. I am very proud to report that the Temple University Fallen Heroes Fund, initiated by Chair Mitchell Morgan and our Board of Trustees, has raised more than $450,000 to date.
The university will absorb all administrative costs, ensuring that the maximum amount of support flows to those in need.
Officer Fitzgerald’s funeral service will be held tomorrow, Feb. 24. It will be a time of enormous sadness. But it also will be a source of immense power. We will plumb the depths of our sorrow, so that we can rise up and truly honor his memory—by emulating his courage, energy, and passion to protect our community.
He leads us forward.
Dr. Jason Wingard
President, Temple University