SPU Creates Engineering Scholarship in Honor of a Student's Heroic Act during Shooting (UPDATE)By Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
The Seattle Pacific University has created an engineering scholarship after Jon Meis, who bravely tackled a 26-year-old gunman during a fatal shooting on campus earlier this month.
Meis, the 22-year-old senior electrical engineering major at SPU, pepper-sprayed Aaron Ybarra while he stopped to reload a shotgun in a campus building on June 5. Before Meis' heroic act, the gunman killed one person and injured two others in the incident. Ybarra has been charged with murder and is being detained without bail at the King County Jail.
"In recognition and honor of Jon's quick thinking, selfless act and brave response, we are establishing the John Meis scholarship," said SPU President Daniel Martin, abc reports. "We grieve the loss of our student, your classmate, Paul Lee. We continue to pray for those who are hurting physically and emotionally."
Tracy Norlen, the school spokeswoman, said that the scholarship will be given to "engineering students who reflect the spirit of SPU and live a life beyond themselves for the benefit of others," LA Times reports.
Meis received two standing ovations from students, friends and family members during the school's graduation ceremony. The class also sported ribbons on their graduation gowns to honour the victims of the shooting.
"What I find most difficult about this situation is the devastating reality that a hero cannot come without tragedy," Meis said.
Commencement speaker Marian Wright Edelman hailed the strength displayed by the SPU community in the wake of the deadly shooting on campus.
"You have taught us how important it is to be about your faith and courage," said Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund, Seattle Times reports.
Police officials said that Meis' actions prevented further carnage.
Paul Lee, who sustained critical injuries in the shooting, was pronounced dead at the Harborview Medical Center. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray described 19-year-old Lee as a "Korean-American student with a bright future."
The other victim, Sarah Williams, who underwent five hours of surgery, was discharged from the hospital on Friday. Two other students wounded in the attack, Thomas Fowler Jr. and Sarah Williams, have been released from the hospital and are recovering.