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Funeral services were held today at Kesher Israel Congregation, West Chester, Pa., for first-year student Hanne Tischler, who died early Sunday morning as the result of an accidental fall from a third-story window in South College.

A contingent of Lafayette students, faculty, and administrators attended the funeral, including Lafayette president Arthur J. Rothkopf ’55, James Krivoski, dean of students, and Bob Weiner, Jewish chaplain and professor of history.

More than 500 members of the Lafayette community and others attended a memorial service in Colton Chapel Monday afternoon, and a candlelight vigil was held on the Quad Monday night.

Lafayette counselors and chaplains were available in Keefe Hall at the conclusion of the service. Counselors have been speaking with students and concerned parents throughout the week and will continue to be available by calling x5005 or stopping by the second floor of Bailey Health Center.

The Hillel Society began holding morning services today to help students cope with Tischler’s death. They are being held at 8:30 a.m. through Friday in Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall.

Students who wish to express their sympathy can place cards addressed to the family in the Farinon Center’s campus mail slot. All cards will be forwarded to the family.

A scholarship fund has been established in Tischler’s name. Donations may be sent to the Hanne Tischler Memorial Scholarship Fund, care of the Lafayette Development Office.

After an investigation by the Lehigh County coroner’s office, the Lafayette public safety office, and the Easton Police department, coroner Scott Grim issued a report Monday afternoon stating that Tischler was alone in the room prior to the fall. There was no foul play determined. Grim formally ruled the death an accident, resulting from blunt force trauma due to the fall. His report said complete toxicology screening is being conducted and preliminary results tested positive for alcohol being present.

An overflow crowd attended Monday’s afternoon memorial service, filling the foyer, and extending past the sight-line of the balcony and halfway down the aisle. Weiner led the service, which began and ended with songs by a group of faculty and students.

After reciting a Hebrew prayer, Weiner noted that prior to Tischler’s death – and even despite it — this had been his “most wonderful year at Lafayette College,” mentioning community-building highlights such as reciprocal attendance at events by Jewish and African-American students, extensive interaction between himself and Father Charles Norman, the college’s Catholic chaplain, and various student accomplishments.

“This is a wonderful community we are in, despite what we are going through today,” he noted. “What we’re going through today is a paradox, a tragedy beyond imagination We come here to console each other; we come here to share our faith and our fellowship and our love for one another, and for Hanne A. Tischler.”

College chaplain Gary Miller shared his thoughts after quoting from the book of Ecclesiastes. “We cannot choose, nor can we understand, the time that is set for many of the events that happen in human life,” said Miller. “And certainly the event of death, as it did in the case of Hanne, comes unexpectedly, taking from us a woman of enormous potential.”

Rothkopf noted that the event was perhaps the saddest occasion he has faced in his time at Lafayette. “Hanne was a young woman of extraordinary talent and potential,” he remarked. “You will hear from faculty and you will hear from her fellow students of her keen intellect, her love of learning, her interest in serving others, her skills as a musician, her athletic ability, and her ability to engage and befriend such a broad range of our student body.

“We as a community feel a profound sense of loss, of potential unrealized. And yet we are blessed for having had Hanne with us even for such a short time. Our purpose here today, as so eloquently expressed by professor Weiner and Gary Miller, is to celebrate the life of one who had become such an important part of the Lafayette family.”

Several students came forward to talk about Tischler’s contributions to the Lafayette community, many sharing their fondest memories. Students discussed her motivational skills, concern for others’ feelings, intelligence, unique style, and deep friendship, among other qualities.

“We’ve lost a best friend, a classmate, an acquaintanceHanne has meant and will mean many things to all of us,” said Ben Mack ’02, president of Student Government. “While we have lost part of our whole, in reality we have the responsibility to keep it filled” with the things that Hanne would share today.

Abigail Rutherford ’04 recalled memories of playing frisbee with Tischler and seeing her academically devoted, yet relaxed approach. “Hanne’s unique spirit and beautiful presence will now be eternalized in all of our hearts,” she added.

Zack Bittner ’03, resident advisor of the South College floor on which Tischler lived, described her as an integral part of a close-knit group of students. “If I had to pick someone to be my sister, it would have been Hanne,” he said.

Additional comments were made by Robert Cohn, Philip and Muriel Berman Chair of Jewish Studies and head of the department of religion. In addition, all were invited to join in a reading of the 23rd Psalm, a Hebrew prayer of mourning, and a song, “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

The Tischler family’s roots at Lafayette are deep. Hanne’s father, James F. Tischler, is a member of the Class of 1971. She is the granddaughter of Asher Tischler ’48, the great-granddaughter of Max Tischler ’13, the grand-niece of Louis J. Tischler ’43, and the cousin of Susan B. Tischler ’76.

Originally from Kingston, Pa., Hanne Tischler graduated from Wyoming Valley West High School last June. Her parents now live in West Chester, Pa.

Because of the impact of this tragedy on the campus community, final exams were rescheduled. Exams scheduled for Monday, May 7; Tuesday, May 8; Wednesday, May 9; Thursday, May 10; Friday, May 11; and Saturday, May 12 will be held one day later than originally scheduled, at the same time and in the same location.

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