Celebrating Willem Golden
Photo by Eric Jenks ’08
The Skidmore community came together in the face of the loss of another first year student, Willem “Will” Golden. Nigel Smith ’19, mournfully addressing his class and the community once again in times of grief, spoke of how these tragedies remind us of how precious life is. As the night went on, the other speeches and stories revealed just how special Will’s life was, and his resounding impact on the community.
One of Will’s fellow ice hockey teammates, Anthony Bird ’17, spoke about how Will always sought to help others. The other teammates also spoke of Will’s uncanny ability to brighten a room, or improve someone’s day with his cheerful personality and goofy smile. Bird spoke about how, during his time on the team, Will scored three collegiate goals, yet the one goal that Will celebrated most was not a direct goal, but an assist. Through this and many other instances, the stories his teammates shared demonstrated Will’s determination to positively help those around him. During the candle lighting ceremony, team members took turns relating different stories of fun times they had had with Will. The audience laughed as the team spoke of surviving exams, or oversleeping alarms. But, mostly the team illustrated how Will—or “Goldy”—was a part of them, more than a teammate, but a brother. There is a true sense of comradery, and a deep loss that this team feels for Will. Will was proud to have been a member of this team, as many of the stories clearly showed, and he will be missed by them and the rest of the community.
As the speakers celebrated Will’s memory with their words, the audience embraced each other, throwing their arms over their neighbors’ shoulders, coming together as they faced their grief. The stories his teammates shared illustrated a pure heart, and with this in mind, this community truly commemorates Will with this show of strength and empathy. As we open our ears and our hearts to other grieving members of the community, we are able to fully celebrate the life of Willem Golden, a selfless individual, who always sought to help others, and often did so. He will be missed.