Connor Cockerham, Kirby class of 2012, lived to make others smile. He loved to dance. He dined on joy, and it was this glowing spirit that drew people to his company. Connor had a special talent for recognizing peers who had trouble fitting in, and he made it his business to let them know why they were loved and that they had a friend who would stand beside them.
In January of 2014, Connor lost his second heroic battle to melanoma. While he was hospitalized, the outpouring of love and support he received from his friends—whether from Kirby, or from other parts of the US and abroad—provided evidence of Connor’s gift: a life spent spreading love and friendship always, no matter where he was. As Kirby alumna Zane Gaguine articulates, “Connor was the person who made an effort to be your best friend before he even knew you.”
On Connor’s hospital room wall was an Emile Zola quote so apropos that it was if someone had known Connor would be there. It read, “If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I will answer you; I am here to live out loud.” Yes, Connor, you lived out loud, and you brought people of all ages together through your friendship and loving vitality. You are sorely missed by all who knew you.
The Connor Cockerham Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually in Connor’s memory, has been established as a way to recognize the Kirby junior who has served to bring the class together through friendship and loving vitality.