Father Of Student Killed In NIU Shooting 12 Years Ago Talks About Her Legacy

Jennifer Keiper
February 14, 2020 - 10:05 am
Ryanne Mace

NIU

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Friday markers twelve years since a gunman walked into a building on the Northern Illinois University campus and started shooting. Five people were killed and almost two dozen were injured. The gunman then took his own life.

The father of one of the five people killed shares his daughter's legacy.

Gayle Dubowski, Catalina Garcia, Julianna Gehant, Daniel Parmenter, and Ryanne E. Mace were at Cole Hall when the shots rang out on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2008. 

Ryanne Mace's father Eric tells WBBM Newsradio, his daughter was studying to become a psychological counselor.

"It's ironic that she was the exact type of person that probably could have helped, or at least mitigated the damage done by the guy that killed her," he said.

He said since the deadly shooting twelve years ago, "these things have become so commonplace that sometimes we wonder if people even remember NIU, because it was so long ago and it's been so grizzly since. I just appreciate it when people do remember our kids were there for awhile."

Mace and his wife lost their only child, and worked with NIU to set up a scholarship fund to benefit graduate students who are training in clinical psychology.

You can find out more by visiting NIU.edu and searching for the Ryanne Mace Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The scholarship website reads, "it is their hope that, through this scholarship, Ryanne’s memory will continue to live on and enable NIU students to improve the lives of others through the profession of counseling. The intent of this scholarship is to help others who embody the spirit and strength in character that Ryanne exemplified as a student and most importantly, as a person."

Mace said the thing he remembers most about his daughter, "is her smile. This is a spot that I don't compartmentalize very well. That kid has enthusiasm for everything."

He said he has kept in touch with others who have lost loved ones in the 2008 shooting.

"Some of the comfort is just in knowing that you are not special in the crowd, for all the wrong reasons," he said.

Mace said proceeds from his amateur photography, available at FineArtAmerica.com, also go toward the fund in his daughter's name. He is also working on a book called 'Postcards for Ryanne.'

Northern Illinois University is set to honor the five victims who were killed inside of Cole Hall at 3:06 p.m. on Valentine's Day in 2008.

Five people were killed and dozens were injured. The gunman was Stephen Kazmierczak, a former NIU student. Kazmierczak took his own life before police officers arrived.

The memorial service will include bells outside of Cole Hall ringing at 3:06 p.m., the time of the shooting. There will be a total of 5 bells, one for each victim.