Jan. 16, 2007
By Erin Roberts
Ohio University's Studio C underwent a transformation Jan. 11, when nearly 100 students, faculty, staff and family members gathered to pay tribute to Christine T. Twardzik with laughter, tears and memories.
Twardzik, a telecommunications student who served as the assistant director for Fridays Live, died Dec. 7, 2006, in a car accident on Interstate 71 near Medina.
"When we tried to decide where we should gather to remember Christine, it was natural that we'd want to do it in this studio," said Roger Cooper, director of the School of Telecommunications. "She spent hours working here, and what she did in the studio was part of who she was."
Twardzik was an active member of Athens Video Works, where she made an impact on several of her fellow students. But as one student, professor and staff member after another spoke on her behalf, it became clear that she'd be remembered most for her constant smile and the way in which she embraced life.
"Christine was the one we wanted in front of the camera because she was always having fun," explained video production professor Keith Newman. "Christine had a ball in here. She did a lot of great work and was one of those students who really had fun."
Memories shared included zany dance parties in the residence halls, learning experiences on set and Twardzik's willingness to help others in myriad ways.
Fellow telecommunications student Richard Chilcott was instrumental in helping Cooper to plan the memorial. He drew laughter from those in attendance by telling a story of how he had helped Twardzik with a project by providing her an audio file of a song his high school band had recorded. Now the head of the student record label Brick City Records and a crew member for Fridays Live, Chilcott said Twardzik's death has deeply affected him.
"The people on the show, we're more than coworkers, we're a family," he said.
The memorial service held Thursday evening included the presentation of an Ohio University matted frame for Twardzik's bachelor's of science degree in communication, which had already been mailed to her parents, Jeff and Sandie, as well as an Ohio University flag that had flown at Cutler Hall.
Scripps College of Communication Dean Gregory Shepherd made a promise to recognize Twardzik at the Ohio University Commencement Ceremony in June.
"This June when I'm up on stage greeting all those new Scripps College graduates—and those of you there can watch me do it—I'm going to shake a spiritual hand," he said. "I'm going to touch my tassel, and I'm going to say 'Congratulations, Christine.'"
The service concluded with remarks from Twardzik's father, who attended the memorial along with her mother, brothers, grandparents and an aunt and uncle. Jeff Twardzik announced a $2,500 scholarship in Christine's name that will be presented each year to a telecommunications junior, as well as a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded to a North Royalton High senior planning to attend Ohio University.
"Christy loved the college," Jeff said, saying the family had found peace after finding her Ohio University planners which Christy used as a diary throughout college. "Your comments here today have meant a lot to us. We'll never forget you, we'll be around.
"Christine was just great," he said through tears. "I didn't have to do a thing. She lived every day to the fullest."
Erin Roberts is the external relations coordinator with the Scripps College of Communications' dean's office.