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Student to be recognized for posthumous degree

Over Thanksgiving break, 22-year-old SVSU student Tyra Chapman, passed away in a car accident.

Chapman was set to graduate with a public health degree in the fall.

Elementary education major Chelsea Booker knew Chapman since they were kids and referred to her as her soulmate.

Booker and Chapman met in the third grade and both grew up in Garden City, Mich. They were friends for 14 years and Booker said they were so close it was like they could read each other’s minds.

“She was a very goofy person, super smart and pretty,” Booker said. “She was also very creative and always thought outside the box. She was super sweet and very genuine and overall, she just wanted to be there for people she was close to. She would put others before herself without even thinking about it.”

Chapman’s friend Daija Hamilton also described her personality and what she was like.

“Tyra was positive, always happy and always laughing,” Hamilton said. “She was so beautiful inside and out and she always encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone. She was so easy to talk to and get along with. Even though me, her and Chelsea were closest, she impacted a lot of lives on this campus.”

Chapman and Hamilton met their freshmen year and quickly became friends. They had been friends for five years when they moved into their own townhouse off campus.

Chapman’s friends said she cared deeply about everyone she met and tried to make campus a better place for everyone.

“My favorite thing about Tyra is how we talked about everything,” Hamilton said. “She knew everything about me. I love how she always had my back; if I needed anything, she was there.”

Booker said she believes many will be affected by the loss of her friend.

“Tyra was loved by so many people; her soul was very bright, and I can say that she will be missed dearly,” Booker said.

Hamilton said she agreed that the community was going to be very different.

“Tyra spent five years at this school,” Hamilton said. “[She] impacted a lot of lives on this campus, participated in events and was even on a dance team here. She planned on graduating from here with me and her friends.”

Booker said she wants her friend to know how much she loves and misses her.

“I want my best friend to know that I love her with all my heart, and I will continue to make her proud every day that I’m here on this earth,” she said.

J.J. Boehm, the executive director of University Communications, said SVSU is planning to recognize Chapman in the near future.

“President Bachand is recommending to the SVSU Board of Control that Tyra Chapman be awarded a posthumous degree,” he said. “The board will vote on this recommendation at its May meeting.”

Chapman’s family has been notified of this intent.

Alyssa McMillan

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