By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer
Eastern Kentucky University’s economics department took a short break from Saturday’s celebration of homecoming to honor the memory of a recent graduate who died tragically.
Kyle Thacker of Somerset, who graduated in 2012, was accidentally killed in March by the blast of a shotgun held by his brother Cody, who then turned the weapon on himself.
Economics Department Chair Gyan Pradhan said the department’s annual tailgating event was special this year because Kyle had been so dedicated to helping with it each year.
“In memory of Kyle, the department has a small token of appreciation for him, this scholarship,” Pradhan said.
According to professor Fred Ruppel, the student or students receiving the scholarship will be announced each year at the tailgating party, which Kyle’s twin brother Keith, also an Eastern economics graduate, still attends.
Ruppel said the scholarship was a fitting way to remember Kyle.
“Graduating with an economics degree is not an easy thing to do,” Ruppel said. “But they (Kyle and Keith) did it together. I remember that three of us (faculty) went down for the visitation … on the way back we thought the best way to memorialize Kyle was through education.”
EKU President Michael Benson made an appearance at the party to present the Thacker family with a plaque officially recognizing the Kyle Thacker Memorial Scholarship. Benson said when he was told about Kyle’s death he found the story very tragic, but he was happy to see something good happening after something so bad.
The president said he admired Kyle, as well as Keith, because when he was in college he “didn’t have the intellectual chops” to make it as an economics major and had to change his program. He also said he was honored the family chose to include EKU in remembering Kyle.
“I appreciate you choosing this place to honor your sons and brothers,” Benson said to Keith and his mother. “We’ll always remember Kyle through the scholarship here.”
Seth Littrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6623.