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TCU 360

TCU alumni connect with each other at Guy Fieri’s Dive & Taco Joint in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. on Friday Oct. 7, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Tristen Smith)
How TCU's alumni chapters keep the Horned Frog spirit alive post-grad
By Addison Thummel, Staff Writer
Published May 11, 2024
TCU graduates can stay connected with the Horned Frog community with alumni chapters across the nation.

TCU holds candlelight vigil to remember Wes Smith

Students and family share stories to remember fellow Horned Frog Wes Smith.
Lance Sanders
Students hold a moment of silence for Wes Smith during the candlelight vigil at frog fountain. (Lance Sanders/TCU 360)

About 200 people — family members, students and faculty — gathered Wednesday to share stories of Wes Smith, the junior finance major who was slain Sept. 1. 

The crowd that surrounded Frog Fountain shared stories of Wes as they grieved and laughed together. 

“I’ve read the Good Book and I know how it ends,” said his father, Philip Smith. “Evil will not win, and I know one day I’ll see my son again.” 

Students listen as family and others share memories of Wes Smith. (Lance Sanders/TCU 360) (Lance Sanders)

Students were offered cards to write personal letters to the family and candles to place around Frog Fountain. Some said prayers while others held each other as they processed the loss of a friend and classmate.

After almost 20 minutes of silence and contemplation, everyone moved closer to Frog Fountain. 

 One by one people came up to share their stories of Wes. The common denominator was how selfless and kind he was.

Wednesday night’s vigil was a testament to the person Wes was as a friend, son, brother and classmate.

Students place candles around frog fountain during a candlelight vigil remembering student Wes Smith (Lance Sanders/TCU360)


“I remember waking up one late afternoon and looking out my window and seeing Wes playing with some kids across the street,” one student recalled. “We weren’t supposed to be there, nor were we invited to be there. Wes was having the time of his life, I think he had a bigger smile on his face than the kids.”  

His mother, Dorree Jane Smith, said “Wes would always make sure you had a place at the table, he didn’t care who you were or where you came from. He loved being around others and making sure they were taken care of.”

She added that to Wes, there was always room at the table for one more. Her hope, she told those gathered, was for them to live like Wes: being in community, loving each other with the same enthusiasm as him.

Wes’ older brothers, Dawson and Graham, echoed their parents sentiments of Wes as selfless and kind.

Dawson said that although he is Wes’ oldest brother, he looks up to Wes. He said he wants to live every day like Wes, speaking to his younger brother’s impact.

Wes’ oldest brother added that he does not believe in goodbyes.

“We’ll get to see him again,” Dawson said.

Portrait of Wes Smith at frog fountain during. (Lance Sanders/TCU 360) (Lance Sanders)

Philip Smith told the gathering, “I want you to go out and live your lives the way Wes would. Take all the time you need to process this. It’s not manly to bury it inside, it’s manly to get the help you need, if you need it. Then I want you to go on and live your lives, it’s what Wes would want.”

He added that in this time of confusion, anger, and grief, there is comfort in knowing we are doing it together. 

Robert Carr Chapel will be open on Thursday, Sept. 7 from noon –1 p.m. for a Contemplative Hour for those who wish to pray, meditate or light a candle in Wes’ honor.


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