Drew Dilkens shovels mulch at the base of a treeMayor Drew Dilkens helps with the ceremonial planting of a tree on the riverfront commemorating five members of the local community killed in the crash of Ukrainian Flight PS752. The plaque reads, in part: “Wherever a beautiful soul has been, there is a trail of beautiful memories.”

Riverfront display honours local victims of plane crash

A collection of commemorative trees and benches has been added to Windsor’s riverfront to honour the memory of five local victims of Ukrainian Flight PS752, which crashed Jan. 8.

Doctoral student of civil engineering Pedram Jadidi; biology research assistant Samira Bashiri and her spouse Hamidreza Setareh Kokab, a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering; and civil engineering doctoral student Zahra Naghibi and her spouse Mohammad Abbaspour Ghadi were among 176 people killed when the plane they were on was shot down during liftoff from Tehran.

UWindsor president Robert Gordon and Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens were joined Thursday by members of the local Iranian community in honouring the lost family, friends, and colleagues.

“The students and friends we lost to the Tehran air tragedy will never be forgotten by their University of Windsor family,” Dr. Gordon said. “This memorial installation will serve as a tangible reminder of the lives they lived, their great impact on our community, and the unlimited potential that was lost to the world on that day in January.”

Along with two trees and three park benches, plaques bearing the names of the dead were installed as part of the memorial.

“I’m pleased that the city was able to partner with the University to prepare this dignified and lasting tribute to the individuals and community impacted by these tragic events,” said Dilkens. “These installations will serve as a permanent reminder of the lives tragically cut short.”

Following news of their deaths, the University received an outpouring of support to establish the Iranian Students Memorial Scholarship - Remembering Flight PS752, a graduate scholarship endowment that will support international students conducting research in the faculties of engineering and science.

Engineering professor Shervin Erfani has committed to matching up to $10,000 in donations to help the University reach its goal in permanently endowing the scholarship. an Iranian-Canadian, Dr. Erfani is a long-time supporter of Windsor’s engineering students and was deeply touched by this tragedy. He hopes to encourage others to give to uphold the legacy of the exceptional students honoured by this memorial fund.

Donations to the memorial fund will be matched 1:1. Donations can be made by credit card online or by contacting Katie Mazzuca, the Faculty of Engineering’s major gift officer, at 519-253-3000, ext. 5959, or katie.mazzuca@uwindsor.ca.