Austin Currie and Chandler Koerting
Every once in a while, our stories are marred by tragedy. And so, it is with sadness that we pause to mark the Andrews University story—a story touched once again, by tragedy. On Sabbath, Nov.19, 2016, tragedy took the life of two of our finest—Austin Currie, a junior engineering student from the great state of Illinois, and Chandler Koerting, a junior computer science student, also from Illinois. They were inseparable friends—inseparable in life and in death. I spent my Sunday evening in the Meier Hall Chapel with a gathering of students, staff, faculty and administrators who assembled to share their fondest memories of Austin and Chandler. I am taking this opportunity to reflect on some of the sentiments that were shared. Austin was remembered as a fun-loving and deeply caring friend. He was regarded as one of our best RAs, who often routinely spent Sabbath afternoons cooking for friends. He was also known for sharing meals sent to him by his father with others. A fun fact that brought laughter to last evening's solemn occasion was that Austin wore flip-flops and shorts during all four seasons—even through the snow banks. On one occasion a young lady, whom he did not know, was stranded off-campus on a cold Michigan winter night because her car battery had died. She called one of her friends to assist her in jumpstarting her car, but that friend was unable to help and offered to send his friend instead. That friend was Austin, who showed up in—you guessed it—flip-flops and shorts and jumpstarted her car. That act of kindness to someone whom he did not know left an indelible mark. And that act of kindness was not random—it was a mark of his character. The fact that Chandler genuinely cared when no one else did was a sentiment that served as a common theme during last evening's sharing. He was incredibly kind and sincere. There was depth to his caring. He had a winsome smile that could put anyone at ease. Not to be undone, Chandler’s friends also recounted his funny side—he could manage to take a nap in any position. One of his friends described a time when Chandler, who is much taller than her, placed his arm on the crown of her head during a casual greeting. She became curious when the weight of his arm seemed to get heavier. She looked up, and there was Chandler, taking a quick nap.
These two young men have provided us with a legacy of how to live. They have demonstrated with their own lives that our legacy has less to do with longevity and more to do with a life of fullness and quality. Stephen Covey, in his classic, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” opines that one of those seven habits is to begin with the end in mind.
In that book Covey also asks us to, perhaps morbidly, visualize our funeral and listen to our eulogy. He claims that what we want to hear in our eulogy is the true core of who we are and we should live that way. Last evening, our campus was reminded that Austin and Chandler lived their core values and embodied the Andrews spirit. And so, as we punctuate our Andrews story with this loss, we say with the throng of the faithful, “even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Engineering and Computer Science
Arthur, Christon, "Austin Currie and Chandler Koerting" (2016). Fall 2016. 9.