University of Tennessee at Chattanooga remembers 'Big Ron'

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga remembers 'Big Ron'

April 17th, 2014 by Alex Harris in Local Regional News

Ingrid Cruz, Lapresha Harris, Delaney Kurras and Whitney Johnson write how they met Ronald Farrell, a 22-year-old UTC communication major, on pieces of paper before placing them in a box on Wednesday. From 4-6 p.m. students ran a live show from the game room at the University Center playing Farrell's favorite music and collect remembrances by those who knew him.

Photo by Erin O. Smith /Times Free Press.

A portrait of Ronald Farrell, a 22-year-old UTC communication major, sits in the game room at UTC.

A portrait of Ronald Farrell, a 22-year-old UTC...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Another Memorial Service Monday

UTC's Communication Department and CRU are cosponsoring another memorial for Ronald Farrell Jr. Monday at noon in Patten Chapel.

It was standing room only at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Benwood Theater on Wednesday night as students, faculty and community members gathered to remember Ronald "Big Ron" Farrell Jr.

The auditorium, located in the ECMS building, seats about 300, but Jason Morris, a leader with Chattanooga CRU, a Christian student organization, said that he expected it to be overflowing for the "Remembering Ron" event, which featured a photo slideshow and testimony from students whose lives Farrell had touched, as well as a reading and discussion of Farrell's favorite Bible verse: Galatians 2:20.

"We are praying that it could be the beginning of some healing, praying that it will even point students to the god that Ron followed, Christ," Morris said.

Farrell, a 22-year-old communication major from Memphis, was found dead in his dorm Friday, April 11, of "medical causes," according to Chattanooga police, who are still waiting to learn the official cause of death from the medical examiner.

Farrell was well-known around campus for his heavy involvement with CRU, including leading a Bible study in the dorms for the past two years, as well as his work at The Perch, a student-run, Web-based radio station at UTC, where he was an on-air personality for the show "The Hot List," and had served as station manager for the 2011-12 school year.

Morris said that he'll miss playing basketball with Farrell, as well as his laugh, "probably the best laugh in our ministry, or on campus."

However, though Farrell was known for his laugh, his faith was very serious to him, Morris said, and added that Farrell had been discussing that faith with other students the night before he died.

Farrell's other big campus involvement, The Perch, had a special, two-hour student-coordinated and run broadcast to remember him. The tribute broadcast featured Farrell's voice, his favorite songs, and memories of his life.

"He really treated himself as if he already had a job," said Nicole Brown, faculty adviser for The Perch.

"He had the skill set of radio, the skill set of TV. All he needed was somebody to let him know that he could do it, and he believed it."

Farrell, a senior, had been planning to graduate in December, and had an internship lined up for the summer with Chattanooga's Power 94, Brown said.

Farrell was "the biggest personality in the room," Brown said.

"I'm going to miss the world not getting a chance to hear him."

Contact staff writer Alex Harris at or 423-757-6592.