sealPurdue News

April 12, 2002

Four Purdue students recognized at spring Golden Taps

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Four deceased Purdue students will be remembered on Monday, April 22, during Golden Taps, one of Purdue University's most reverent traditions.

The short outdoor ceremony is set for 9:30 p.m. at the base of the Purdue Bell Tower. Families and friends of the students, along with interested members of the general public, are invited.

The students to be remembered include Michael Lynn Hardebeck II, a graduate student in the School of Education from Earl Park, Ind.; Brian David Peter, a junior in the School of Liberal Arts from Tell City, Ind.; Caleb Ellis Sheets, a freshman in the School of Liberal Arts from Lafayette, Ind.; and Shambly Kaye Sorrells, a freshman in the School of Agriculture from Shoals, Ind.

Golden Taps has been a tradition on campus since 1994, and was originally held in the courtyard at Cary Quad. In 2001, it was moved to a more central location at the base of the bell tower.

Tony Hawkins, Purdue dean of students, says what didn't change with the move was the essence and emotion of the ceremony.

"The impact is pretty powerful because of how reverent it is," Hawkins says. "It's simple and it's elegant."

Drummers and buglers from Purdue University Bands set the tone for the event. With the lighted tower serving as a beacon, drummers and buglers proceed from Elliott Hall of Music to the ceremony site at the base of the bell tower, where memorial cards list the names of students being recognized. The deceased are remembered with the tolling of the bell – once for each student being honored. A few moments of silence for personal reflection follow. The playing of "Echo Taps" and the "Purdue Hymn," conclude the ceremony. The Boilermaker Special, the university's official mascot, also will stand in silent tribute nearby.

Purdue Bands, with the help of Tau Beta Sigma band fraternity, hosts a reception for families prior to the event in the Elliott Hall of Music lobby. A fraternity member accompanies each family throughout the evening, and the family receives a personalized certificate as a remembrance of the ceremony.

Hawkins says most families are moved by Gold Taps.

"It strikes me that this is one of those things Purdue does that makes this university a special place," Hawkins says. "It's a small thing, but a powerful thing at the same time."

CONTACT: Kathy Matter, (765) 496-6785,

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Media interested in interviews should contact Kathy Matter, Purdue Bands public relations, at (765) 496-6785.

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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