The college held a remembrance gathering for late Emerson student Lucas Flint ‘20 in the Ansin building on Friday, followed by a dedication ceremony for the newly named Lucas Flint Call Center at WERS.
Lucas Flint was hit by a drunk driver on Dec. 15 in Braintree, Massachusetts and died in the hospital on Dec. 18, according to the Braintree Police Department. The school established a $1,000 annual scholarship in his name from funds raised by Emerson parent Kate Mueth. Flint began volunteering at WERS’ call center in high school to take donations from listeners during fund drives.
Friends, family, and faculty filed into an Ansin Building classroom to memorialize Flint.
Senior Gealyn Comune Clegg played some of Flint’s favorite songs on piano for the entrance and closing music of the memorial. Rev. Julie Avis Rogers, director of the Center for Spiritual Life, spoke briefly at the beginning of the program, followed by two of Flint’s former resident assistants, Rachel Levin and Alice Lynch, who spoke about their memories of him.
“My job as an RA was to make him feel welcome on the floor, but he made me feel welcome on the floor,” Levin said in her speech.
President M. Lee Pelton also attended the memorial and spoke about his time getting to know Flint’s mother, three aunts, and grandmother, who were all in attendance.
“You represent resolve, strength, grace, love, and most importantly, life,” Pelton said. “I’ve come to understand that to know the five of you is to know Lucas.”
Pelton ended his speech by saying he wished he could have heard Flint laugh.
“He was a true Emersonian,” Pelton said in his speech. “And although his story ended far too early, all of us were really fortunate to have known him. For those of us who didn’t know him in life, we’re still fortunate to have known him now.”
Junior Ciarán McDonough took a screenwriting class with Flint and also spoke at the memorial about getting to know him.
“People in this school are quick to joke about how success as a filmmaker is a bit of a crapshoot,” McDonough said in his speech. “But there’s no doubt in my mind that Lucas Flint would have become a household name for every kid out there who felt like they were a little odd. There’s no doubt in my mind that when those kids grew up and started making movies of their own, when asked who inspired them, they would say without hesitation—Lucas Flint.”
Flint’s mother, Susan Flint, was the last person to speak before closing remarks, and read from the 21st birthday letter she wrote her son three months before his death.
“You have been a great partner in crime, great companion, but especially a wonderful son,” she read. “You have made me so proud through the years, but you have become a good man, a good person, employee, student, and friend. You are a human success.”
Susan Flint said she worked with Avis Rogers to plan the service.
“I was really pleased it’s going to be kind of wrapped around the Ansin Building and WERS,” Susan Flint said in a phone interview a week before the memorial. “That was a highlight spot for him. It just kind of makes everything full circle.”
Susan Flint said she plans to hold a private celebration of life for her son with close friends and family during the summer.
After the remembrance gathering concluded, the crowd moved to the basement of the Ansin Building to the WERS call center—where volunteers answer phone calls from listeners—for a dedication ceremony.
Kevin Cooney, director of Membership and Individual Giving at WERS, worked with Flint during his time as a volunteer at the station and came up with the idea of dedicating the call center to him.
“We dedicate things so we won’t forget, we have children so we won’t be forgotten,” Cooney said in a tearful speech. “Today we dedicate this room with a plaque etched upon it Lucas’ name so that we don’t forget. [So] that for years to come, students, volunteers, and listeners will sit here and see the name, Lucas Flint. They may not know him, but they will know he touched many lives.”
Susan Flint paid to put up a billboard on March 8 on the street where Lucas Flint was hit by the driver. It displays a picture of her son with text that reads, “One Life Taken; Five Lives Saved. Be a Hero. Be an Organ Donor.” She paid for the billboard to stay displayed for six months, but hopes to renew it for as long as possible.
The same image on the billboard will also run as a 15-second advertisement for organ donation from May through November before films are shown at four independent Massachusetts movie theaters Susan Flint selected.
The clip will run at Cameo Theaters in Weymouth, Loring Hall Cinema in Hingham, Patriot Cinemas at Hingham Shipyard, and East Bridgewater Cinema 5 in East Bridgewater.
Susan Flint also dedicated a seat to her son in the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, where he was a loyal member and frequent customer. The seat is located in the back row of the theater’s balcony and displays a plaque that reads “#Where’sLucas”—a phrase her son used to scrawl onto walls and surfaces in various places he visited. Susan Flint said she had planned to dedicate a seat to her son when he graduated in 2020.
“He loved the Brattle, and I can’t wait to go see [the plaque],” Susan Flint said. “I can’t wait to sit in the seat and watch movies.”
Susan Flint also plans to reach out to her son’s organ donor recipients. She said although she has not personally reached out to them yet, she did learn that all recipients are in good health.
“If I ever got to meet them, that would be just surreal,” she said. “I don’t know what to expect, but I’d really like to try.”
Susan Flint and Avis Rogers organized the memorial as an intimate gathering rather than a large event, which Susan Flint said she felt was appropriate.
“It was a perfect size, and it was a perfect memorial,” she said in an interview after the dedication ceremony. “People couldn’t have said nicer things. I think there was a lot of emotion in the room, and emotion means that you care.”