Remembering Aaron Lewis, of the DVM Class of 2025

Friday, June 16, 2023

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This week started off with tragic news that shook the Purdue Veterinary Medicine community, when word was received that a beloved veterinary student in the DVM Class of 2025, Aaron Lewis, had died in an accident in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, June 10. The week is ending with a focus on remembering Aaron’s life and the way he endeared himself to all who were blessed to know him.

Portrait of Aaron at the college's Stethoscope Ceremony at Columbian Park in Lafayette
Aaron Lewis, of the DVM Class of 2025 (Photo courtesy of the Lewis family)

Classmates in the DVM Class of 2025 have arranged for a beautiful means of providing something for Aaron’s family to honor his memory and his time here at the College of Veterinary Medicine. The class is doing a memory/remembrance journal. Class member Sharon Meoli graciously organized a Google Form to be used by anyone who knew Aaron and would like to contribute to the journal by sharing their favorite memory of Aaron. She will print these submissions in a book format and give them to his family at his funeral. If interested, please fill out the form by 10:00 p.m. this evening (Friday, June 16). She will then organize the material and create and print the memory journal.

Aaron was born in Birmingham, Alabama. His birthday was June 11, and he would have turned 25 this past Sunday. His faith was reflected in his uniting with Sardis Baptist Church in Birmingham at an early age.  Described as academically astute, Aaron was an honor student in high school and went on to attend Lincoln University with an academic scholarship from the United States Department of Agriculture. He studied animal and environmental sciences and earned his Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree before coming to Purdue University to enroll in the DVM program.

Aaron was loved and admired by fellow students, professors, and administrators and actively participated in the life of the college. A passionate lover of animals, he was working towards being a large animal veterinarian in collaboration with the USDA, where he was actively interning. As a reflection of his care for others and his desire to make a difference, he even joined the college’s League of VetaHumanz as a future veterinarian, or “VetaHuman-in-Training,” showing his commitment to a diverse, inclusive, and unified veterinary profession. Choosing “Cowboy D” as his “superhero identity,” he described the “superpower” he had gained from life’s challenges as being determined.

Aaron is remembered as someone who always had a smile on his face, even on exam days. He would always ask, “How are you doing?” He would go out of his way to hold doors open for his classmates.  “Respected as a good person who cared about everyone, his classmates knew that being a veterinarian was his dream and he talked about all things animals all the time,” Purdue Veterinary Medicine Dean Willie Reed said. “I am heartbroken for his family, loved ones, fellow students, and everyone in our Purdue Veterinary Medicine community who was blessed to know him. Aaron was on course to graduate in 2025 and bring his determination and vibrant, caring personality to the veterinary medical profession, where he truly would have made a difference and blessed animals and people alike. We miss him deeply and express our heartfelt sympathy and compassion to his family and all who were touched by his life.”

Aaron also had served his community by participating with Adopt-a-Highway, the Jefferson City Animal Shelter, Diwali Festival, Jefferson City Canoe Cleanup, and the Lincoln University Campus Recycling Program. Above all of his academic and community accomplishments, his true spirit was reflected in his love for his family and friends. He also enjoyed outdoor activities, such as swimming, bicycling, roller skating, and skiing, and loved music and riding his motorcycle.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Marietta Funeral Home, 915 Piedmont Road, in Marietta, Georgia. The family will receive visitors this evening (Friday, June 16) from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home. The funeral service will be held tomorrow (Saturday, June 17) at 11:00 a.m. in the Marietta Funeral Home chapel. Aaron will be laid to rest tomorrow afternoon at Zion Memorial Gardens in Birmingham, Alabama.  Click here to read the full obituary.

Purdue Veterinary Medicine Counseling and Wellness Services has communicated through separate emails about support and counseling available to the PVM community. Purdue Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS, main campus), also expresses their heartfelt condolences and has offered support to the college. Additionally, these resources from Psychological First Aid may be helpful for those who are needing support and for those who wish to provide support: When Terrible Things Happen; Connecting with Others and Seeking Support; and Connecting with Others and Giving Social Support.  Also, Coping with Grief After a Sudden Death gives insights about the range of reactions that some may be experiencing, as well as some general coping tips.

Dean Reed also has thanked and commended the Purdue Veterinary Medicine community for the outpouring of sympathy, compassion and support that has been felt since Aaron’s passing.  In a message to college students, staff and faculty, Dean Reed shared, “Though we grieve over the sense of loss we all feel, and we hurt deeply for Aaron’s family and loved ones, we can take heart knowing that Aaron surely would have wanted us to be determined in supporting and upholding one another in the midst of this difficult and challenging time, just as you have done, and just as Aaron would have done for us.”

Writer(s): Purdue Veterinary Medicine News |

Category: DVM, Our People, Students

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