Wednesday, November 25, 2020

MSU doctoral student's life and career celebrated at vigil

March 18, 2016
Friends and family console Heather LaBerge, fianc?e of Max Monroy-Miller, who passed away earlier this week. Photo taken March 17, 2016 during a vigil at South Kedzie Hall.
Friends and family console Heather LaBerge, fianc?e of Max Monroy-Miller, who passed away earlier this week. Photo taken March 17, 2016 during a vigil at South Kedzie Hall. —
Photo by Emily Elconin | and Emily Elconin The State News

A vigil was held Thursday night to celebrate the life and career of Max Monroy-Miller, an MSU dual doctoral student who died unexpectedly earlier this week. 

Monroy-Miller completed his undergraduate education at MSU and was an active member of myriad groups on campus including Omega Delta Phi — MSU’s first multicultural fraternity. The fraternity advocates for Latino education and empowerment at MSU and across the country.

He was also active in MSU’s Chicano/Latino Studies ProgramLiberate MSU, the MSU Teacher Education Department and MSU's Council of Graduate Students where he served as the curriculum, instruction and teacher education representative. 

Francisco Velazquez, a brother of Omega Delta Phi, said Monroy-Miller had a positive impact on the MSU chapter and his fellow brothers.

“It’s these letters that are more than letters because of men like Max,” Velazquez said. “You are not a brother simply because you wear letters, Max showed us that a brother uses the motto of brotherhood to uplift, to teach, to grow, to protect.”

Monroy-Miller was regarded as a caring, thoughtful activist and humanitarian by his friends, colleagues and family. 

Joseph Guzman, Interim Director of MSU Chicano/Latino Studies Program, remembered him as being passionate about his work for the Chicano-Latino program at MSU. 

“I dare say nobody worked harder than Max,” Guzman said. “You could always count on him for a ready smile and a warm embrace.”

Vice president of Student Affairs and Services Denise Maybank was also in attendance at the vigil Thursday night and lamented how Max was a force in MSU's inclusion efforts.

“I would be remiss if I did not talk about his impact on MSU,” Maybank said. “Max was a force that moved through MSU and was the bridge for so much, and because of him we are better and we are changed.”

Monroy-Miller's fiance, Heather Laberge, told the story of how the two met in Traverse City, Mich. at the Cherry Festival years ago and said she was inspired by the words his friends and family had spoken. 

"He was the best," Laberge said. "He was incredible and he blessed me." 

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