Murdered Temple University student Jenna Burleigh was remembered Thursday as an energetic and compassionate person who wanted to make a difference in the world.
Hundreds gathered for a vigil in the sun-dappled Founder’s Garden on campus, many carrying the red carnations handed out by members of Temple Student Government and Progressive NAACP, who organized the event.
Some held hands, some wept. Senior Valerie Lichtman sat forlornly on a wall, holding her red carnation to her nose.
“I didn’t know her,” said Lichtman, “but I knew a lot of people that could have been her. Nothing like this has ever happened since I’ve been here.”
Burleigh, a recent transfer to Temple, disappeared Aug. 31 after leaving a bar near campus with Joshua Hupperterz, 29, a former Temple student. Her body was found days later on his grandmother’s property in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Hupperterz has been charged with her murder.
The Rev. Renee McKenzie of the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia urged students to support each other in their shock and grief.
“Don’t let evil win. There is power in pain. We just have to find out what that power is and live it,” said McKenzie in her closing remarks. “Don’t go it alone.”
After the vigil, many students lingered and wrote letters to the Burleigh family. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Hatfield.