Memorials planned for crash victims



Nearly a month after the accident that killed four Yale students and injured five others, former teammates, fraternity brothers and the University are planning a variety of memorials and scholarships to honor those who lost their lives Jan. 17.

Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, to which all nine students belonged, is planning a scholarship fund and possible memorials at the current and former DKE houses, DKE President Nick Sinatra ’03 said. The hitting facilities behind Yale field, which are currently under construction, will be named for two of the crash victims who played on the baseball team. A concert at the Art Gallery to remember the victims is also planned for Tuesday from 3 to 4:45 p.m.

The students were coming from a DKE pledge event in New York City when the sport utility vehicle they were riding in struck a jack-knifed tractor-trailer, killing driver Sean Fenton ’04 and passengers Kyle Burnat ’05 and Andrew Dwyer ’05. Nicholas Grass ’05 died the next day from injuries sustained in the crash.

Sinatra said the fraternity is focusing its efforts on raising money for the DKE memorial scholarship fund, which will be administered through Yale.

“The stipulation we set is for a varsity athlete, preferably football or baseball, with financial need [to receive the scholarship],” Sinatra said.

Burnat and Grass both played on the Yale baseball team. Fenton played football his freshman year.

This weekend, DKE alumni were invited back to Yale to provide emotional support and help with the fund-raising efforts for the scholarship. Sinatra said the fraternity raised more than $12,000 this weekend.

“Our goal is $250,000 for the fund,” Sinatra said.

More DKE alumni will be invited to campus March 1.

DKE is also planning to create a permanent memorial in the DKE house to remember those who were killed.

“We’re talking to some of the alums about getting four permanent plaques for the four guys with their pictures and some engraved words,” Sinatra said.

Sinatra said he also made tentative plans to place a permanent fixture in the Rose Alumni House, the former DKE house. These plans could include a plaque or bench with the students’ names engraved, Sinatra said.

The new hitting facility being constructed behind Yale Field will be named the “Burnat-Grass Hitting Facility,” baseball head coach John Stuper said at a memorial for Burnat Saturday. The site will feature a permanent monument with pictures of Burnat and Grass, as well as all the names of the players on the 2003 Yale baseball team.

“At your 20-year reunion, go behind Yale Field and look at that facility and say, ‘These two guys, they were my friends and they were special and I was very lucky to have their lives touch mine,’” Stuper told the students at the memorial service.

The families of the four students killed in the accident have also designated funds, including scholarships, schools and the Yale Baseball Association, for those who wish to make memorial contributions.

The Yale Art Gallery will present a program of solo music Tuesday to remember the accident. The program, titled “Solace in Art, An Afternoon of Reflection,” will feature six solo performances by Yale students.

“Places like museums and art in general provide an atmosphere for reflection and some sort of solace and comfort in a time of grief and loss,” said Ellen Alvord, an assistant curator at the museum, who helped organize the program.

Eric Wenzel ’03 and Brett Smith ’06 continue to recover from injuries they sustained in the crash.

Jonathan Edwards College Master Gary Haller said Wenzel is recovering and is undergoing physical therapy.

Smith remained in satisfactory condition at Norwalk Hospital Sunday night, a hospital representative said.

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