New Bench Commemorates Ryan Adams ’19

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The memorial bench outside East Hall serves to honor the memory of Ryan Adams ‘19.

Mara Stein, Editor-in-Chief

Colgate erected a memorial bench commemorating Ryan Adams, a member of the class of 2019, outside East Hall last week. Three years ago, Adams and another then-first- year, Cathryn “Carey” Depuy, died in an Eaton plane crash. The students were 18 years old and were both from Ridgefield, Connecticut.

According to the Office of Stewardship, the bench was funded by both the University and Adams’ parents.

Though it commemorates Adams only, a separate memorial may be erected in honor of Depuy.

“We’ve offered to work with Carey’s family on a remembrance that they feel is most appropriate; however, no decision has been reached at this time,” the Office of Stewardship said.

On September 20, 2015, Depuy rented a single-engine Cessna 150 at the Hamilton Municipal Airport. Adams boarded as a passenger. The two were airborne for about 30 minutes when their plane experienced a loss of engine power and crashed, according to an accident report by the National Transportation Safety Board. The students were the only people aboard the aircraft.

In the wake of the accident, Colgate offered counseling services to students and held a candlelight vigil, which was attended by over 2,000 members of the Colgate community, The Maroon-News reported in 2015. During the vigil, Mary Lou Hanney, Adams’ mother, spoke about her son.

“He did things the right way and he was kind, so very kind,” she said. “He was the first to lend a helping hand and his smile was infectious.”

Colgate’s Student Government Association (SGA) will honor the lives of Adams and Depuy in a tribute ceremony on Thursday, September 20, the third anniversary of the students’ deaths.

“Before we celebrate Colgate [during its “Bicentennial Kickoff Weekend” beginning September 21], we will celebrate and remember the lives of two effervescent and deserving young people taken from us too soon,” the SGA said in an email to the senior class on Monday, September 17.

Aside from the memorial bench, the Office of Stewardship has also established two endowed scholarships in Adams’ and Depuy’s names: the Ryan M. Adams ’19 Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Cathryn V. DePuy ’19 Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Senior Eric Benoit shared a room with Adams during their first year and was close friends with him.

“[A friend] and I had a couple of meetings shortly after the crash in which we talked about doing something like this to remember Ryan, so I’m glad to see that it has finally happened. I think it’s fitting that [this memorial] was finally realized in our senior year so that he can be with the class of 2019 for our last year,” Benoit said.

The bench was placed outside East Hall because Adams lived there as a first-year. Its engraving reads: “Ryan Michael Adams / Class of 2019 / Beautiful Son, Loving Brother, Caring Friend / September 13, 1997 – September 20, 2015.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Adams and Depuy both rented the plane at the Hamilton Municipal Airport. It was Depuy who rented the plane. Adams was a passenger; Depuy piloted the plane.

Contact Mara Stein at [email protected]