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Shortly after the New Year holiday, 2016 was off to the kind of fresh start that SCO fourth-year students always enjoy as their commencement date nears. January 2016, however, reminds us of the painful loss of Craig Baxter, OD ’16, who will be forever remembered by his classmates, faculty members, and all who knew and loved him.
Craig’s disappearance early that year brought national headlines. A Facebook group attracted more than 25,000 people who joined in the search for Craig. Everyone’s hearts were shattered with the sad news that Craig had passed away. He was the first SCO student in several decades to pass away while in school, and it was a loss that deeply impacted the entire campus.
He left behind many fond memories as his classmates supported each other and shared condolences with his family and SCO roommates. At commencement that year, Dr. Craig Baxter was posthumously awarded his Doctor of Optometry degree. He will forever remain a cherished member of the Class of 2016.
Five years after his passing, Craig’s classmates continue to honor his memory through support of a memorial scholarship bearing his name. As the Class nears fulfillment of this very special scholarship, a few of Craig’s classmates and colleagues reflected why it’s important to them to support this scholarship and pay tribute to Craig’s memory:
“With his unbeatable laugh and shining smile, Craig made on impact on people the instant he met them. Of course, these salient features were surpassed by a depth of character and passion for life that few can claim. We have never known anyone as deeply selfless as Craig. From his closest friends, to complete strangers, Craig continually humbled himself while identifying and cultivating the seeds of good in every person around him.” --- Gabe and Nelly Fickett (parents of Wildon Craig Fickett)
“Craig was a great friend to many, and he would have been an outstanding optometrist. It was his dream to work with his dad at their own practice. I know he will be happy that his scholarship will make another student’s dream come true. ” --- Adam Malik
“Craig was always kind first, and it was contagious. He would love to see this scholarship be a lasting tribute to his memory, and funding this for our 5 year reunion really shows our class’s love for each other. I know the students who receive scholarships from this fund will be honored to receive help from the Class of 2016 in Craig’s honor.” --- Katie Bond
If you’re a member of the Class of 2016 or someone who would like to join the effort to remember Craig Baxter, please consider making a gift in his memory. Your gift will be used to help support future optometry students to fulfill their professional promise in memory of someone whose story will always be remembered and cherished by those who loved him.
To make a gift in honor of Craig Baxter, please use the form below.