“Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to lose a friend at 30,” Bonnie Kuppinger P’98 said to a group of her daughter, Julie Kuppinger’s ’98, friends, family and classmates. The gathering in the Blackwell Room on Saturday evening commemorated Julie Kuppinger who passed away in a motor-vehicle accident last summer. “I miss her deeply,” said Alicia Olson Gearwar ’98, one of Kuppinger’s friends who spoke at the gathering. “During our freshman year, we lived together in Emerson with our friend, Ashley. Julie took care of me and kept me out of trouble. I did the same for her. I’ll never forget all of the Spanish dishes she cooked for me throughout our time at William Smith.” A Spanish major, Kuppinger was known by all as an enthusiast of all things Spanish. “Julie was our fourth child, so we’d joke that she would be Chinese because one in four people in the world is Chinese,” her father, Jon Kuppinger P’98, joked during the service. “Little did we know that she would be Spanish!” “Her love of Spain started in her junior year of high school when she went abroad to Barcelona with her class for 10 days,” explained her father. During her years at William Smith, Kuppinger studied abroad in Barcelona three times through programs in conjunction with SUNY College at Oswego. “I first met Julie when we were 10 or 11, and I was very shy and reserved,” said long-time friend Leisha Davison-Yasol. “She kept asking ‘Why don’t you talk to me?’ Eventually I did become friends with her, and it was the first time in my life that anyone was genuinely friendly to me.” “Julie always had a certain lightness about her,” said friend and classmate Judy Karpatkin ’98. “When she wasn’t smiling, she always had a little glimmer or sparkle in her eye. There were so many people who loved her. I will truly miss her.” Karpatkin read a letter from Director of Intercultural Affairs and Assistant Professor of Spanish Alejandra Molina, who wasn’t able to attend the event. The letter included a passage from a book Kuppinger had read in one of Molina’s courses. “Julie always shared her love for Catalan with everyone in my class,” wrote Molina in the letter. “I am still engulfed in sadness by her passing away. So young, so vibrant: my lovely Julie.” “I miss her and appreciate the gift that knowing her was,” said Davison-Yasol. “Julie truly was happy until the moment she died,” said her mother, Bonnie. “I know that she was planning on coming here to her 10 year reunion this year. We appreciate you all being here more than you know.” Sharing stories, memories and hugs, those who gathered took time out of their Reunion 2008 Weekend schedules to remember their Julie. Alicia Olson Gearwar ’98 was one of several who spoke in remembrance of Kuppinger during a commemoration held in the Blackwell Room on Saturday, June 7. Jon and Bonnie Kuppinger P’98 (center) gather with family, friends and classmates of their daughter, Julie Kuppinger ’98, who passed away in motor-vehicle accident last summer.