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Members of the GSW community gather to remember Jamal Floyd

AMERICUS, GA (September 8, 2023) – Hundreds of people from the Georgia Southwestern State University community whose lives had been touched by Jamal Floyd gathered together in the Presidential Plaza on Thursday, Sept. 7 to remember the GSW student who passed away earlier this week.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, community and family members filled GSW’s Front Lawn to share their favorite memories of Jamal, enjoy a few laughs in between the tears and hug their neighbors. Jamal, a senior art major from Americus, was fondly remembered for his campus involvement and dedication to student and Greek Life.

“It’s important to lean on each other and know we are not going through this alone,” GSW President Neal Weaver shared in his opening remarks. “What makes GSW so special is that when one of us succeeds, we all succeed; when one of us hurts, we all hurt. That’s what Jamal loved about this place – the family, culture and commitment we had toward each other.”

Weaver closed by presenting Jamal’s family with the gold Presidential Challenge coin that he would have received upon his graduation – a symbol of his relationship and impact on the University.

Alex Espitia, GSW Student Government Association president, spoke on behalf of the student body and fondly remembered Floyd’s contributions to campus. He read an excerpt from Jamal’s SGA application: “I want to help create an environment where all students can call GSW home. I want to fulfill my role as a representative in the College of Arts and Sciences to be a voice for the art majors. I want to do my part by being involved on campus for a more engaging community.”

Espitia continued, “Jamal aspired to be an agent of change. It is our responsibility to honor him by uniting together as a student body and doing our best to be Hurricanes and remembering him in all that we do.”

Espitia shared that a tree would be planted on campus in Jamal’s honor, which will be a longstanding symbol where all can go to remember Jamal and feel his spirit.

President of Chi Phi’s Delta Pi Chapter Palmer Braunstein went on to share what made Jamal special – the ability to make everyone feel welcome at GSW – and his personal favorite memories of Jamal who had been his best friend and fraternity brother since freshman year.

The mic was then opened up to several of Jamal’s closest friends who shared their favorite memories of him and condolences to the family – all which brought tears and laughter.

Closing out the ceremony was Jeremy Wicker, assistant director of Greek Life and Leadership and a community pastor, who gave three inspiring words to live by in the coming weeks as friends and family cope with such tragedy and heartbreak – remember, reflect and replicate. Remember all the great times with Jamal, reflect on all the things we learned from him, and replicate the things he taught us and finish the work he began on campus.

Everyone then lit their candles and paused for a moment of silence while remembering the short but certainly impactful life of Jamal Dashaun Floyd. As the Vigil closed out, the sunset sky above campus displayed vibrant colors and, as one of Floyd’s closest friends put it, “Jamal now has the biggest canvas to work with.”

GSW community members who wish to share messages of condolence or their favorite memories with Jamal’s family can drop them off at the SSC 3rd floor front desk in the Storm Dome. The Chi Phi fraternity is also accepting donations to help alleviate funeral costs.

GSW’s Department of Visual Arts will host an exhibition of Jamal’s work in the coming weeks, which will be run by his peers and curated by a close friend.

Details about the visitation and funeral arrangements will be shared once finalized.

There are multiple resources available to those who would like to discuss feelings of loss or concern for others, including in-person counseling through GSW’s Office of Student Health and Counseling Services and 24/7 online support through Christie Campus Health. Visit for more information.