Dear Transylvania Community:
This morning a grave incident occurred on our campus. A former Transylvania student, who withdrew in 2015, returned to campus and randomly attacked one of our first-year students in an act of brutal violence. The campus was quickly secured by Transylvania’s Department of Public Safety and Lexington’s Police Department, who then arrested the perpetrator and removed him from campus. Our student was transported to the University of Kentucky Hospital, and she is expected to make a full recovery.
This incident could have been significantly worse if not for the alertness and courage of several members of our community. From our staff in Jazzman’s, who resisted the perpetrator and helped students to safety, to our campus public safety officers, who responded in seconds to the emergency alert signal, to Joy Henderson, from our Accounting Department, who held together the victim’s wounds until the ambulance came, we are a resilient, compassionate, strong community. We are all grateful that our student will recover, and we should all be incredibly proud to be Pioneers.
This afternoon I was asked how we will move on from this incident. We have taken all the steps necessary to care for our students, faculty, and staff. Counselors are available around-the-clock and we are ready to answer any questions that come from families or community members.
But we will move on by doing what we are all here to do: we will continue to educate the men and women entrusted to our care. At Transylvania, the educational process goes far beyond the transmitting of knowledge. It is a journey that opens doors to the world and to our souls. It challenges us to articulate and refine the values by which we want to live, and it cultivates the courage to live by those values. It builds upon 237 years of tradition and the accumulation of wisdom that defines us. Finally, a Transylvania education works because we care. We care about ideas and truth and honesty. We care about the world and how we can contribute to it. And we care, deeply, about each other.
Erika Lyvers, along with her colleague Marcia Figgs, has a kind word for every student she serves each day in Jazzman’s Café. This morning she picked up a chair to go after a 230-pound man wielding a hatchet. As we were talking in the aftermath of the incident, I commented on her courage. She summed up how we all feel today: “These students are our babies. Nobody’s going to hurt one of them without a fight.”
Transylvania is a school, yes. But we are much more than that. We are a community in which each member is beloved. In a beloved community, learning is efficient and fluid. We will move on by learning, thinking, exploring, and questioning. We will move on by being who we are, remembering who we have been, and opening doors to who we will be. We will move on as a beacon of light for our city, our state, and our country, and we will move on by passing that light on to the world through each student who graces the classrooms and walkways of Transylvania University — In Lumine Illo Tradimus Lumen.
President Seamus Carey