Under a late fall afternoon sun, about two dozen people gathered at the Peace Garden on the Cal State San Bernardino campus to remember and honor those who were lost in the Dec. 2, 2015, mass shooting just miles from the university.

Twice the bell at the center of the garden tolled 14 times, once for each of those who died that day – five of whom were CSUSB alumni, graduates of the College of Natural Sciences’ biology or environmental health departments.

Sastry Pantula, dean of the college, William Vandyke, a CSUSB health science and human ecology faculty member, and family members and friends of the alumni shared words of remembrance, comfort and encouragement during the 20-minute ceremony.Family and friends leave roses on the base of the bell at the Peace Garden.The event served as a tribute to all of the victims of the attack, including the CSUSB alumni:

  • Robert Adams, public health education, 2011, remembered for his vibrant spirit and commitment to making a positive difference
  • Juan Espinoza, biology, 2002, celebrated for his contributions to the CSUSB family. His legacy lives on in the hearts of those who knew him
  • Shannon Johnson, environmental health science, 2004, touched the lives of many with her warmth and kindness
  • Yvette Velasco, environmental health science, 2013, remembered for her unwavering commitment to excellence
  • Michael Wetzel, biology, 2001, remembered for his dedication to service and the values he instilled in those around him.

The annual Day of Remembrance is not only an opportunity to pay tribute to these remarkable individuals, but also a chance for the community to stand united against violence and hatred. It is a moment to reflect on the strength and resilience of the San Bernardino community and to offer support to the friends and families who continue to carry the weight of loss.

Michael Nguyen, a former faculty member in the Department of Health Science and Human Ecology, rings the bell at the Peace Garden on the Day of Remembrance, Dec. 2.