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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

University of Idaho honors slain students at graduation ceremonies

MOSCOW, Idaho – As the University of Idaho Class of 2023 sat in its caps and gowns Saturday morning, the community took a moment to recognize those who weren’t there.

“Awws” rang out through the crowd as the four students who were killed at an off-campus home last fall were posthumously recognized.

Maddie May Mogen’s parents walked across the stage to accept her marketing degree.

The hundreds of people crowded into the Kibbie Dome erupted into a standing ovation.

“This is her day that she worked so hard for,” said Ben Mogen, Maddie’s father. “We’re all just so proud of what she did with her life.”

Maddie Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were found dead at the women’s off-campus home in November. After a monthslong investigation, a Washington State University graduate student was charged with their murders.

The graduation ceremony marks another milestone of grief for their families and community.

“This a moment for us to acknowledge the contributions they’ve made and celebrate their academic achievement with their family,” said Torrey Lawrence, provost and executive vice president at the university.

Kernodle’s family chose to accept her marketing certificate in a private ceremony. Chapin’s family will also receive a certificate in his honor.

Goncalves’ siblings tearfully accepted her general studies degree during the Saturday afternoon commencement ceremony. As they stood on stage, an extended round of applause filled the dome.

As Karen and Scott Laramie, Maddie Mogen’s mother and stepfather, crossed the stage, they wore pink, Maddie’s favorite color. The emotion of the moment was clear on their faces.

“It was emotional, of course,” Ben Mogen said. “It was a really special moment.”

Mogen thanked the University of Idaho and the Moscow community for their support and consideration during graduation weekend.

“It was so sweet,” Mogen said. “Just the whole way that the university has handled everything has been so special to my whole family and the other families, too.”