New monument at Mirror Lake honors memory of Reagan Tokes
On the edges of Mirror Lake, a yellow magnolia tree and a bronze plaque pay tribute to the life of Reagan Tokes.
The Ohio State University student was killed last year just months before graduation. Now a monument to her memory marks one of her favorite places on campus.
“It’s a beautiful space that Reagan absolutely loved,” said Lisa McCrary-Tokes, Reagan’s mother. “It’s a tree that is very symbolic about the type of person she was. She was kind. She was inclusive. She was beautiful, and she was a good friend.”
Family and friends of Reagan joined President Michael V. Drake and Senior Vice President of Administration and Planning Jay Kasey on Friday to dedicate the plaque and tree on the north side of Mirror Lake. Drake spoke to the family and said that Reagan would always be in the heart of those close to the university.
Reagan’s father, Toby, said he began taking his daughter to Ohio State football games when she was 5 or 6 years old. He said Ohio State was the only school to which Reagan applied.
“[Mirror Lake] was a special place for her. She would always walk with me down from her house to the games right through campus,” Toby Tokes said. “She always commented on how much she liked this area. She spent time here and reflected and studied. It’s an iconic place for the university and it’s just so special for us to have this here and know it’s going to be here forever.”
Fossils of magnolia have been found dating to 20 million years ago. As a result, the flowers are a symbol of something long lasting.
“It’s good to have a place on campus that hopefully will make people feel good. And uplift and encourage them to move forward in their journey in a positive way when they pass here for reflection,” McCrary-Tokes said. “It is just an incredible way to help keep her memory, the kind, beautiful spirit of the person she was, alive forever.”
Reagan Tokes’ memory also lives on in a series of scholarships her family has established in her name.
“Education was very special to Reagan,” Toby Tokes said. “She was a gifted, very talented, smart, young lady. And as I said, her dream was to come here and to achieve that dream. I know she would be proud looking down and knowing that she was helping and still continuing to touch lives and help other students that maybe weren’t as fortunate as her and able to come here.”