By Joan Kite
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In a solemn ceremony laden with deep emotion, Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture recently remembered two of its graduate students who were killed in a hit-and-run accident on Thanksgiving night.
Judy Stanley, 23, and Vybhav Gopisetty, 26, were pursuing food science degrees: Stanley a master’s, and Gopisetty a doctorate
About 150 people, including members from the Nashville Indian Community, the Indian Consulate, and St. Vincent de Paul Church, where Stanley was a member, attended the ceremony at TSU on Dec. 7 to show their support and share memories of the students.
“I’m going to miss him a lot,” said Gopisetty’s roommate, Sharath Julankanti. “He published four papers in a row as a master’s student. He was always busy.”
The ceremony allowed students to share their sorrow and happy memories in an event that was wrought with emotion.
“We never imagined that two big personalities would leave the world so soon,” said Stanley’s roommate, Bandana Bhusal. “May your beautiful souls rest in peace.”
Research technician and “lab mom” Yvonne Miles spoke of how Gopisetty and Stanley brought joy to the lab and how deeply felt their loss is.
“Our lab is a family,” said Miles.
“When we lose a student, a family member, it breaks our hearts,” added Rajesh Narayana Das, a member of the Nashville Indian Community.
After a meal of Indian food and a slide show presentation with photos of Gopisetty’s and Stanley’s lives in India and the United States, the students’ teachers talked about them.
“You will live in our hearts forever,” said Dr. Ankit Patras, a mentor to both Gopisetty and Stanley.
A GoFundMe account quickly raised more than $50,000 to send the students’ bodies back to India, where they were from, and assist their families.
Department of Media Relations
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.