Grad student dies of brain aneurysm

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SMU students, faculty and staff joined Kimberly Aikman’s friends and family to celebrate Aikman’s life at the Meadows Museum Aug. 24. Those who knew Aikman remember her as a free-spirited and determined individual who wanted to change
the world.

Aikman, a creative writing major in the Masters of Liberal Studies Program at SMU, was a couple of semesters shy of graduation when she died of brain aneurysm on July 29. Aikman also held a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in dance from SMU.

Director of MLS Program Michelle Mrak presented a special certificate of commendation in honor of Aikman on behalf of SMU to Aikman’s family. The certificate officially recognized Aikman’s “scholarly and creative contributions she made to SMU and the world beyond.”

Gary Swaim, faculty advisor for the creative writing program in the MLS Program, described Aikman as not only bright and talented woman, but also “terribly, terribly inquisitive.”

“Just one more question, please. She would say,” Swaim said in his poem he recited at the service. “She had to know. It was important that she know.”

“Kimberly was quite the class’ contrarian,” said Aikman’s classmate, Jennifer McNabb, who was grateful to Aikman for bringing new perspectives to the table. “Classes always go better when you’ve got one person who’s prepared to challenge the conventional wisdom,”
McNabb said.

Rick Halperin, director of SMU Embrey Human Rights Program, remembered Aikman for her high-spirited persona. “Kimberly was… always affable, always smiling,” he said.

In lieu of flowers, Aikman’s friends and family are encouraged make a donation to Animal Rescue of Texas where she found her pet and service dog, Optimus Prime.

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