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Vigils held as community mourns loss of student

By Adam Troxtell
On September 30, 2011

The community of international students at Texas A&M University-Commerce is "in mourning" after the loss of Indian graduate student Suman Kumar Reddy Kukunoor, Director of International Student Services John Jones said.

"Our Indian student population is a very close knit community, and this has had an obvious impact on the community," Jones said. "A prayer vigil was organized on campus by the India Student Association in lieu of the concluding events for their Ganesh festival."

Kukunoor, who studied computer science, died in a car accident on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 24. The car was reportedly driving westbound in the eastbound lane, and contained three other students that were sent to area hospitals with serious injuries. The accident is still under investigation.

While Kukunoor was involved with ISA and the Indian community, his life also appears to have impacted a diverse group of students and faculty members.

"We had individuals at the vigil from UPD, the university counseling center, members of ISA, international students from different countries, and staff from my office," Jones said. "Also, at the hospitals where the injured students were, there were a number of A&M-Commerce students and members of the Indian Community in Dallas there to offer support."

Jones said, to his knowledge, the three students that sustained injuries from the accident – Swathi Thota, Mayajyothi Challabotla and Pejaswi Bhavaman – are still in the hospital and expected to recover.

The ISA organized prayer vigils that occurred yesterday and today. There will be a third and final vigil on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 3 p.m. at Ridgecrest Baptist Church. The church is located at 918 Bishop Street in Commerce. 

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