Christian Chronicle

#BeLikeBo: Harding University unveils memorial honoring slain graduate

Dedication ceremony pays tribute to Botham Shem Jean, a faithful Christian who died tragically in 2018.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

SEARCY, Ark. — Future generations of Harding University students will learn to “Be Like Bo.”

The university, which is associated with Churches of Christ, made sure of that with this week’s dedication of a memorial honoring the late Botham Shem Jean.

On Wednesday — the day Jean would have turned 30 years old — Harding unveiled a special bench with a plaque bearing the beloved 2016 graduate’s image.

“Happy birthday, my son!” Allison Jean said as hundreds of relatives, friends and Harding students, faculty and staff members gathered outside the David B. Burks American Heritage Building.

Related: Seeking justice for Botham Jean

“The pain of losing my son never goes away,” Botham’s mother said. “But we are comforted by the life that he lived and the promise from God that those who obey his word receive eternal life. I am also reminded by Apostle Paul that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” 

Just three weeks before his 27th birthday, the faithful Christian was shot to death in his Dallas apartment on Sept. 6, 2018, by an off-duty police officer. The memorial recounts how his slaying and the officer’s ensuing murder trial gained national and international attention.

Related: Guilty and forgiven

“God, we ask that you help Harding to never forget the impact that Botham had here,” Steve Lake, who sponsored Harding’s Sub T-16 men’s social club when Jean was a member, said in the invocation.

At age 19, Jean left his native St. Lucia — a small island in the Caribbean — to attend Harding, a 5,000-student Christian university about 50 miles northeast of Little Rock.

Read the full story.

This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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