Friends and family gathered in Cal Poly’s University Union (UU) Plaza to honor recently deceased Cal Poly alumnus, Andrew Thiel.
As the vigil began, the University Union filled with discussions about Thiel. Another Cal Poly alumna, Thiel’s childhood babysitter, Kindra Peterson flew from Chicago to participate in the vigil.
“I’ve known Drew since birth,” Peterson said. “He was a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan. When he was little, he used to run around with his backpack and a paint stick sticking out of it. That was his Ninja Turtle weapon.”
Thiel would be honored by the attendance but embarrassed about the attention, Peterson said.
“He was a sports stud but he never wanted it to be about him,” Peterson said. “He’d probably ask how much we all spent on this.”
Thiel’s sister Noelle also said that he would be embarrassed about the attention but would appreciate the people that came out to honor him.
“I’m going to miss our inside jokes and laughing with him,” Noelle said.
With the help of many of Thiel’s other friends, Jad Adaimi arranged the vigil. Adaimi, a first year graduate student like Thiel, knew Thiel for two years.
“I think he appreciates that a lot of people miss him,” Adaimi said. “It’s more about us showing our appreciation for him.”