DEKALB - As students and faculty prepare to return to classes tomorrow, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich joined NIU President John G. Peters, NIU Board of Trustees Chair Cherilyn Murer, DeKalb Mayor Frank Van Buer, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin and U.S. Senator Barack Obama at a memorial service on NIU's campus tonight to honor the victims of last week's tragic shooting.
"My wife Patti and I want to again personally extend our condolences and offer our prayers and support to the students who were taken from us, to those who are heroically recovering, to the student body and the entire Northern Illinois University community. Patti and I want to join the NIU community as students, faculty, friends and family move forward and begin to heal and return NIU to its core mission of education," said Governor Blagojevich. "One week, 3 days and 4 hours ago, under a calm cold and grey sky, heaven welcomed five souls. We must remember those we lost for their promise, for their youth, and for the dreams they had. Daniel, Catalina, Ryanne, Juliana, and Gayle. Lives of great accomplishment and even greater possibility. This is a sad and almost unbearably difficult time, but also a time of hope and promise."
"In our own way, each of us can make the memory of those we lost a blessing by capturing some of their promise, their decency, their innocence, their optimism and holding it next to our hearts," said the Governor.
The Governor has committed to providing state assistance to help NIU and local law enforcement officials understand what happened and what measures might have prevented the shooting. The lessons learned in the aftermath of the NIU shooting will be used to improve safety at universities across Illinois.