Day of Healing helps Purdue students cope with traumatic events

Purdue Day of Healing (WISH Photo)
Purdue Day of Healing (WISH Photo)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) – Friday was supposed to be the campus-wide day of healing, but it was interrupted by news of another shooting that’s left a Purdue professor fighting for her life.

Police say it happened at the professor’s home, just outside West Lafayette.

Students and faculty are still trying to cope with last week’s traumatic shooting.

Marcia Gentry, a professor in Purdue College of Education, was shot in her home several times last night on Farmstead Lane.

Police say her husband fired the shots before turning the gun on himself. He died.

The news has been tough for boilermakers to absorb, but thankfully several helping hands and paws were on campus today to try and make sense of the senseless violence.

“Last week it was real traumatic for everyone really,” said freshman Madeline Colvert.

A teacher’s assistant stabbed and shot the death. A student put behind bars.

Ten days later, those images are still fresh in Purdue students’ minds.

“I know like, the dangers passed and everything but it’s one of those things that sticks in your head,” said freshman Jenna Wojciski.

And right as many were beginning to feel normal again, shocking news hit the university.

Marcia Gentry, a professor with Purdue’s College of Education, was shot several times. The crime might have happened off campus, but the sadness is being felt across it.

“I couldn’t imagine like having classes cancelled because your professor, something like that happened to them, I couldn’t even imagine that,” said Wojciski.

In the midst of all the pain, counselors and several four-legged friends are helping many heal.

“There’s nothing that is more healing than fur, especially golden retriever fur in my opinion,” said Mary Hall, therapy dog specialist.

Almost a dozen therapy dogs were at the rec center today, spreading around smiles and lifting spirits.

“Hopefully it just makes like feel normal and balanced, and just makes you feel like OK, things are OK,” said Hall.

“I think it’s an excellent way of just kind of showing that the school does care and that they’re here for students,” said Colvert.

Moving on for students like Wojciski hasn’t been easy, but even just a few minutes with these loving pets helped her and many others get started.

“Even if they were OK the day after, week after, it’s nice that they have these things a couple weeks after so people can deal with things at their own pace,” she aid.

The healing didn’t stop with today’s therapy sessions.

The family of Andrew Boldt, the teacher’s assistant killed in a classroom last week, gave the university its blessing to make t-shirts in his honor.

The theme is “Boiler Strong.”

All the money raised will benefit the “Andrew Boldt Cary Racing Scholarship Fund.’

For more information on how to buy a shirt, click here.

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