“It is hard to think of coming back to rehearsals without Megan,” Dr. James Tipps, Wright State professor of music and conductor of university chorus said when reflecting on having Megan Betts as a student. “She was an absolute joy to work with, and she made a very positive difference in our lives.”
It has been less than a week since the Oregon District mass shooting, resulting in the loss of nine lives and injuring dozens. On the morning of August 4 around 1 a.m., 24-year-old Connor Betts walked down East Fifth Street in downtown Dayton and fired around 40 shots before he was shot by Dayton Police in the doorway of Ned Peppers bar.
Megan was one of the nine fatally shot that morning. She was a senior at Wright State University majoring in Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Described by her teachers as a kind and outgoing student, she left an impact on the lives she touched.
“We’re all shocked and dismayed. I extend my deepest sympathy to those who’ve spent time nurturing her as one of ‘ours’,” Dr. Chad R. Hammerschmidt, professor and interim chair of earth & environmental sciences said. “May we all find ways to support each other, and our other students.”
She was also involved in Wright State’s choir, for three and a half years she added choir courses to her schedule.
“She is what great choirs are made of,” Tipps said. “She loved to make music, and though she was an Earth and Environmental Sciences major, she always worked her schedule to sing with chorus.”
According to Tipps, Megan had a long background of music, performing in her high school choir and playing trumpet in the high school band.
“Megan had a good, strong voice and absolutely loved singing the lowest alto parts, frequently volunteering to “help out” the tenors. (She really loved singing those low notes.) She was a good musician, and was chosen to sing in small groups and some solo work on more than one occasion,” Tipps said.
She particularly enjoyed doing large works, notably Mendelssohn’s Elijah and the Fauré Requiem, according to Tipps.
“I loved seeing her face when she would say, ‘We really nailed that!'” Tipps said referring to choir classes. “Megan really didn’t like to do choreography that might be put in with a choral piece. I remember her saying, “I’m not going to drop out over this, but I would seriously think about it.” And then laughed.”
Tipps described Megan as funny, quick to laugh, and “spoke the language of mild sarcasm fluently.”
“Megan was very social, and never one for cliques. She was a welcoming person to new singers, particularly those who were in her alto section. She really made friends quickly,” Tipps said.
Several of Megan’s professors wished to remain anonymous when interviewed according to Seth Bauguess, Wright State’s Office of Communications Director.
One of her earth and environmental sciences lecturers shared with Bauguess that Megan was a friendly, soft spoken young woman who had a passion for the environment.
“Megan worked well with her fellow classmates and contributed thoughtful insight to discussions. I believe she would have been successful in her chosen career field. Other EES faculty shared she was dedicated to her studies and openly displayed her enthusiasm for Earth &Environmental Sciences. It is truly a sad loss to the EES Department. We will miss Megan. My condolences go out to her family and friends,” according to the lecturer.
According to Bauguess, another employee at Wright State who gave Megan academic guidance and served as an instructor for her, said she was an engaged student and sat at the front of the class.
“She showed an eagerness to participate. She earned an A. The class was called Process Geomorphology,” according to Bauguess.
In an email communication with Bauguess the employee said Megan dearly loved the Glen Helen Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs.
“It was the focus of a project and presentation she produced for that class. This summer she was seeking ideas for research projects and they both were in agreement that her love for Glen Helen suggested that a project centering on it would be a good fit for her. Glen Helen has many geological features and she was in the early stages, the conceptual part really, of producing some kind of geological field guide for the area,” the lecturer said.
On Wednesday President Cheryl Schrader, who is currently in Italy with the WSU basketball team, sent out a communication email to the Wright State Community addressing the Oregon District shooting and the loss of a student.
“Here in Italy our men’s basketball team, support staff, faculty, and supporters are representing Wright State University and honoring earth and environmental sciences student Megan Betts, who lost her life in the shooting. Like you, we are somber yet resolute in our determination to help define #WrightStateStrong and #DaytonStrong during these terrible circumstances.”
Schrader reminded the campus community that through this tradgey counseling services are offered for students, faculty and staff.
“It is important to understand that for some of us, it will take time to reconcile the emotions we are experiencing. We must remember and remind each other that it is not a weakness to ask for help. Wright State is supporting you and wants to help. You need only to reach out and we will be there,” Schrader said.
Wright State is providing counseling services to students, staff and faculty during this time:
Confidential counseling services are available from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Counseling and Wellness Services which is located in 053 Student Union.
You may also reach a staff member by calling 937-775-3407.
After normal business hours, you may also call our 24-hour crisis phone service, Raider Cares by calling 833-848-1765 (TTY: 314-485-4345).