Gonzaga Students Hold Vigil For Peace To Remember Tom Foley - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gonzaga Students Hold Vigil For Peace To Remember Tom Foley

SPOKANE, Wash. -

As the memorial service for Tom Foley took place, students on campus were also taking time to remember his life and stand up for peace on their campus.

Earlier this week, the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas announced that it planned to picket Tom Foley's funeral service Friday. So, when students heard they were planning on coming, they decided to take a stand.

"We heard the Westboro Baptist Church was coming and we wanted to counteract some of their words and some of their negative environment, with our own positive environment and really spread the love and acceptance we have for one another ," said Gonzaga Freshman Maggie Douglas.

Friday, right in front of the Foley Center on the Gonzaga campus, dozens of students gathered for a vigil of peace and acceptance. The vigil was a time to reflect on values and take a stand against a protest group the students did not want on campus.

"We all really felt pretty unified in the fact that we didn't want our campus to have that negative approach to it," Douglas said. "We really wanted to have that community environment and positive atmosphere."

The campus has experienced the group once before, but Friday, they never showed.

"Our campus has been the target of two WBC pickets," said John Shuford, the director of the Gonzaga Institute for Hate Studies. "One in October 2010, that actually occurred, and one today that was a false alarm and I'm quite happy for that."

After a prayer, a moment of silence, and a song, students wrote messages of hope and encouragement in chalk to remind others of just a few of the things Tom Foley stood for himself. While this leader may be gone, his legacy lives on across campus.

"It's pretty incredible, he was speaker of the house and led the country in some incredible things," Douglas said."To be able to speak in front of this is a pretty big honor. I'm really excited about it because it means so much to our country and it means so much to our campus that we have such an incredible leader that came from here."

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