Tree Planting and Plaque Dedication

Remarks by Director of Athletics Carla Williams

September 8, 2023


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens….including a time to plant and a time to heal.

A group of classmates of D’Sean, Lavel, and Devin selected three words to symbolize each of them; Peace for D’Sean, Love for Lavel and Joy for Devin. Peace, Love and Joy.

I imagine this tree as time passes, and it grows tall and strong reaching upward with each passing day.

Its roots stretching deep and wide, creating a beautiful tapestry of magnificent art under the earth. Like our Renaissance man, D’Sean…roots that are a source of strength and wisdom. An expansive system that is creative…expressive… and also foundational because it holds everything and everyone together. Because of this tapestry’s stability and its presence, it brings a peaceful reassurance to all of us. Peace for D’Sean.

Up from the roots, a tall, sturdy, and strong trunk with long, athletic and powerful limbs. Taller than most trees, in fact, it towers above all other trees. Can you imagine this tree with me? It is a gentle giant, simply beautiful with a smile as bright as the morning sun and so wide it stretches from sunrise to sunset. This tree is determined to make a difference in its surroundings and this tree has a heart of gold filled with love. Love for Lavel.

And its leaves. Full of action, flowing with the breeze, moving with the wind and bouncing with every raindrop…leaves unphased by the elements it endures….determined to dance; the sounds of their movement draws attention to the tree, almost like laughter. Laughter that springs hope in each of us. Leaves – capturing the energy of the sunlight to help give life to the tree. Leaves that not only bring life to the tree, but leaves that bring Joy to the tree. Joy for Devin.

That’s how I will forever see this tree and probably most trees for the rest of my life. Peace, Love and Joy. The roots, the trunk and limbs and the leaves. D’Sean, Lavel, and Devin.

Happy, Sean and the Perry family; Uncle Darrin and Uncle Brandon and the Chandler family, Marcie and Chico Sr. and the Davis family; Marlee and the Morgan family; Mike and the Hollins family; Coach Elliott and the UVA FB family; to President Ryan and the University of Virginia, to Charlottesville and our surrounding communities; and especially to the brave souls who are here today who were on that bus on that night with Devin, Lavel and D’Sean, I want you all to know that weeping may endure for a night, but joy always comes in the morning and I believe that any present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.

Thank you.

We have received an amazing amount of support throughout this journey, especially from the Board of Visitors and in particular from the Rector. Please join me in welcoming Rector, Robert Hardie.