Tears fell from the face of Dominique Durden, 19, as she stood in the middle of the Minnock Institute Global Learning Lab. She was thinking of her late friend, Sackie Nyanquoi.
“He was just always so nice to me, he was always so genuine,” she said.
On Dec. 17, Dominique and other members of the Bridgewater State University community gathered for an intimate ceremony to rename the Global Learning Lab in honor of Sackie, a chemistry major and member of the class of 2019, who died in October.
The young scholar had touched many lives during his time at BSU, leading to the naming of the lab in his honor.
“I think it’s more than appropriate to recognize Sackie’s contributions to our university and how he was able to make in impact on a worldly basis,” said Joseph Oravecz, vice president of Student Affairs. “This dedication is emblematic of how he assisted BSU to move forward with international student relations.”
Sackie, always diligent when it came to his studies, was a frequent visitor to the lab.
“As a tribute to such a dedicated scholar and a dear friend to many at BSU and beyond, we wanted to create a space for the community to come together and remember him,” said Jennifer Currie, associate director of International Student and Scholar Services.
Dominique said the gesture is fitting.
“I think it’s phenomenal because he was excited about education,” she said.
Sackie, a Liberian native, overcame many obstacles in his short 27 years, including a near-fatal acid attack in 2008 by an assailant who was trying to rob his parents’ home in Monrovia.
He never let adversity harden him, and it was rare to find Sackie on campus without a smile.
“He was very friendly. Every time I saw him, he would say ‘Hi,’ and ask how I was doing,” said international student Jenniffer Rivas, ’18, of the Dominican Republic.
During the recent dedication ceremony, a plaque containing a photo of Sackie was unveiled. The plaque will eventually be put on display for all to view.
Currie encourages all students, not just international students, to seek out the Sackie Nyanquoi Lab for a quiet place to study, and even reflect.
“We hope students will come by to share their stories and remember him as well,” she said.
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