Only 25 years old, Stacey Sanders ’98 already had a clear picture of what her future might hold.
She had just begun a new job with investment management and consulting firm Marsh & McLennan in September 2001, and planned to eventually attend business school. On top of her professional plans, Sanders was starting preparations for her upcoming wedding.
Those plans were cut short on Sept. 11, 2001, when she and 294 other Marsh & McLennan employees died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
“There isn’t an aspect of our [family’s] life that has not changed because of this,” said Sanders’ mother, Martha. “It was pivotal.”
Ten years later, Sanders is still present in the memories of her roommate, Zibby Right ’98. Right, who lived with Sanders for three years, said she cannot put into words how tragic Sanders’ death was for her family and friends.
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In the years following Sanders’ death, her family set up The Stacey Sanders Summer Fellowship through Yale. The fund was created without rigid guidelines and is intended for freshmen and sophomores in Yale College. Her family hoped it would offer students opportunities similar to the one Sanders had when she spent a summer studying in Florence between her sophomore and junior years.
Bryan Koplin ’99, Sanders’ fiancé, said in 2003 that he and Sanders’ family chose to this form of commemoration because of the smile they believed it would put on her face.
“Stacey was a person who always felt that you should do and be able to do what would make you happy and fulfill yourself,” Martha Sanders told the News in 2003 when the family first established the fellowship, which ended after the 2005-’06 school year.
Right said Sanders’ memory encourages her to reflect more on the way she lives her life.
“The only good thing, if you could call it that, that came out of her sudden death was my appreciation for life and how fleeting it is,” Right said. “Ultimately you have no control over your fate and things can end any minute so you have to fill your life with as much happiness and love as possible.”