SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Two former University of Scranton students died tragically more than a decade ago, one of them during the 9/11 attacks. Decades after receiving their diplomas, both continue to make a lasting impact on the university.
Nearly 18 years ago, William Kelly Jr. was inside one of the World Trade Center towers during the 9/11 attacks. Kelly was on the top floor for a conference.
“At the windows of the world, which is the top floor in Tower One, and he volunteered and asked if he could go to that conference,” William’s sister, Meigan Kelly said.
Five years later, in 2006, Brendan Giblin’s parents allowed him to go on a spring break trip.
“Sure enough, 36 hours after he got there, he got hit by a car and it was terrible… you know, such a loss,” Brendan’s mother, Mary Giblin said.
Both University of Scranton students died. Kelly and Giblin graduated 13 years apart but shared their love for the ‘U’ through academics, sports, and student life.
On Monday, the former Hannan Hall was renamed and dedicated as the Giblin-Kelly Hall.
“That’s just amazing for us to know that his legacy is always going to be someplace and he is never going to be forgotten,” Mary Giblin said.
In 2002, the Kelly family established a memorial scholarship fund for University of Scranton Junior and Senior students. In 2006, the Giblin family did the same.
“Just two regular guys who really impact many future students here at the university,” Meigan Kelly said.
Together, both scholarships have raised more than one million dollars to help students pay for college. One of those students is Kimberly Baxter.
“Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to go to the university and I’ve never been doing my best to get involved and take advantage of every opportunity that the university gives me,” University of Scranton Senior, Kimberly Baxter said.
Baxter is a Giblin Scholarship recipient. She’s double majoring in political science and criminal justice and says on top of that she has internships and is involved in student life on campus. She spoke at today’s dedication.
The Giblin and Kelly families say their son’s lives shine on through people like Kimberly.