By Joseph Lyell —

More than two dozen people gathered near the observatory to remember Savannah Walker, a U of L student killed in a shooting at the Tim Faulkner Gallery this March.

U of L’s department of communication dedicated a tree memorializing Savannah’s accomplishments at the university. The tree is a silk ivory lilac, one of only three on campus.

Pan-African Studies Department Chair Ricky Jones said losing Savannah is hard on the community, but said the tree will always remind us about her.

“It brings us closer together, and I hope it reminds us what we’re all really here for,” Jones said.

Debate Team Director Tiffany Dillard-Knox said Savannah kept the team laughing, and was always improving.

“She was dedicated; she was a fighter,” Dillard-Knox said. “She loved debate.”

Dean Walker, Savannah’s father, said she honed her debate skills at home. At the dedication, Walker thanked the community. He said he took Savannah to look at 100 universities across the country before she decided on U of L. She wanted to stay close to friends and family, which was what he hoped for.

“I want to thank the U of L community. Faculty, staff here and her fellow students have really been a great support to me. I love this place,” Walker said. “She could have gone anywhere she wanted and she picked Louisville, and she was so proud to be a part of this campus and this community.”

Walker thanked those attending for their continued support.

“It’s sad that she’s gone, but she left — in a short amount of time — a really great legacy of just true enjoyment and a lot of friends here on campus. This was a great experience for her.”

The tree is centered in the lawn adjacent to the planetarium. A placard in front of the tree describes Savannah as a devoted daughter and Cardinal.

Photo by Joseph Lyell / The Louisville Cardinal