Remembering student Ryan Love

Ryan Love, an Augustana student, passed away on May 13 from a five vehicle car accident in Galesburg, IL.
On his way to his final class, Love was killed in a car accident. According to a CiNews article, the accident occurred because a semi-truck failed to slow down in a construction zone, striking Love’s car and setting off a chain reaction between three other cars.
The accident killed one other person and injured two others.
Love was born on September 28, 1974 and was 40 years old. He attended Augustana approximately three times to get his degree from the school. He came back multiple times because he fought with bouts of depression during his time as an Augustana student.
“He would deal with these emotional barriers each time he came back and that made it really hard for him,” Ryan Love’s sister Riley Love said. “I’m so proud of how much he stayed with it and worked through the tough times. This last time he was ready to graduate for sure.”
Love originally came to Augustana on a debate team scholarship. He loved not only to debate on the team, but also with colleagues.
“He would argue with Professor Peters all the time in class,” English professor Meg Gillette said.
Love developed his debate skills at the age of five.
“I would explain things (to him) such as even though something is a law, it doesn’t make it moral,” said Ronald Love, Ryan Love’s father.
It was from then on that Ryan Love would “try to analyze your viewpoint and argue why you were wrong,” Riley Love said.
“He would really make you think and challenge your opinions,” said Riley Love.
Much of Love’s personality is of his sharp intellect, his loyalty to his friends and family, and his abrasive attitude. As his fiancé Katie Becker put it, “he was abrasively loveable.”
At Ryan’s remembrance ceremony held at 11:15am May 19, a tree was planted by the Gerber sign outside of the CSL. The tree is an oak tree, a final testament to one of Ryan’s last actions.
“I think that this tree is an appropriate way to memorialize Ryan,” Professor Laura Hartman said during the event.
The tree is oak because Love’s last class was a learning community taught by Hartman and English Professor Jason Peters involving the environment. During the class, Love wrapped and prepared saplings.
“Ryan once spent six hours wrapping saplings. He was very dedicated to making sure they were wrapped perfectly,” Hartman said. “It’s good to think of how many trees were touched and cared for by Ryan.”
Pastor Richard Priggie conducted the ceremony, reading Planting Trees by Wendell Holmes and leading the event.