The Daily Gamecock

USC's College of Education to honor slain professor Jennifer Wilson

Suspect in case will face bond hearing Thursday morning

Reeling from the death of one of its most admired professors, USC’s College of Education wants to honor Jennifer Wilson’s life with a campus memorial service.

“We’re trying to help people process the loss because it was very sudden and very unfortunate,” said Gloria Boutte, the department chair for instruction and teacher education.

The memorial service — which hasn’t been formally scheduled — will not be widely publicized, according to USC spokeswoman Megan Sexton.

The service will not be public due to a lack of room, Sexton said. Notifications will be given to about 150 of her students, along with the College of Education’s faculty and staff. USC deans and elementary and high school partner schools she worked with will also be invited.

Meanwhile, Hank Hawes, the man charged with Wilson’s murder, will face a bond hearing Thursday morning.

Hawes, 37, a former boyfriend of Wilson’s, was arrested at a Columbia hospital after he attempted to commit suicide. Columbia police found Wilson dead in her home Sunday morning after being stabbed several times, according to Columbia police officials.

In her six years at Carolina, Wilson made quite an impact, according to friends and professors in the College of Education.

She founded a non-profit to eradicated illiteracy in foreign countries, developed an exchange program with Norway teachers and won hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants.

People have already asked to donate to a foundation in Wilson’s name, Boutte said.

“There have been so many people interested in [setting up a foundation], but we haven’t formalized it yet,” Boutte said. “So we do want to continue her legacy in middle school literacy because that was kind of what her life stood for. I’m sure that’s going to be in the works — right now it’s just too early to have any final details about it.”

The class Wilson taught is being taken over by Susi Long, a professor in the Instruction and Teacher Education department.

It met for the first time since Wilson’s death Tuesday night. According to Boutte, there were an overwhelming amount of teachers who volunteered right away to take over Wilson’s course and responsibilities.

“[Long’s] area is language and literacy and Jennifer’s course is a language course so it worked out very nicely,” Boutte said. “Susi stepped right up and agreed to do it. Our main priority was to get the course covered so that the students would know that they are still going to receive the same high-quality instruction.”

Wilson had two small grants, which several professors volunteered to take over.

The College of Education has not yet finalized who is going to be chosen.

Boutte said the final decision should come in the next few days.

“It’s very difficult and unimaginable,” Boutte said. “It’s something that collectively, because there are so many people here who care about her, we’re going to manage to get through it and honor her legacy. Our main concern is: How can we honor what she stood for?”


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