Junior Alicia Gonzalez, who died May 11 in Salamanca, Spain, will be greatly missed by the Wake Forest community. Gonzalez, who was from Charlotte, NC, was spending a semester abroad in Salamanca.
President Nathan Hatch notified students and the Wake Forest community of Gonzalez’s passing early in the morning of May 11 in an email released to the Wake Forest community. “Alicia’s passing is a loss for the entire Wake Forest community,” he said. “May her family and friends find comfort and support as they grieve her loss and remember her life.”
The Office of the Chaplain and the University Counseling Center held a gathering for Gonzalez in Reynolda Hall for those wishing to honor her on May 11. On May 19, a celebration of Gonzalez’s life was held in Charlotte at the McEwen Funeral Home.
Gonzalez’s family announced that in lieu of flowers, they are creating the Alicia Gonzalez Salamanca Spain Travel Abroad Support Fund at Wake Forest. Details will come at a later date.
Close friends of Gonzalez remembered her as a friendly, fun and supportive girl with an infectious smile. “Alicia was the light in so many people’s lives,” said junior Zoe Helmers. “Always laughing and cracking jokes … She inspired me to be a better person in many ways … I am truly blessed to have had her in my life as a best friend.”
Junior Amy Lerro also recalled a special memory that exhibited Gonzalez’s vibrant personality. “One of my favorite memories with her was when we spent a late night studying in the Intercultural Center, her second home,” she said. “Between our midnight P.O.D. run and having competitions to see who could list out the steps of the research process faster on the whiteboard, her incredible personality actually made studying fun. Her friendly and infectious smile will be missed by everyone who knew her.”
“Through thick and thin I know she was always there for me,” Helmers added. “I will love and miss her forever … Even though we had only known each other for a year, she made me feel special and important and as if we had known each other since we were little. That is the type of effect she had on people.”
“Alicia Gonzalez is the most caring and fun-loving girl I have ever had the privilege to know. She was passionate and carried this passion through her studies, in her relationships, the community, and in every aspect of her life,” said sophomore Samantha Strelzer. “She brought joy to each and every person’s life and will be dearly missed.”