BY JORDAN OTERO
Inducted sisters in the Theta Phi Alpha sorority choose to live their lives by the maxim, “ever loyal, everlasting.” Through these words, the women of Theta Phi Alpha promise to remain loyal and true in the bonds of sisterhood, friendship and family. Amanda Looman, a Theta Phi Alpha officer at Franciscan University of Steubenville, was no exception to this lifestyle.
The 21-year-old senior management and marketing major died Oct. 22 after nine days of battling severe injuries following a head-on collision in Dayton, Ohio. Friends remember Looman as a “riot,” a “crazy, fun-loving girl,” a “sweetheart” who “loved life” and sought to “bring out the best” in others. As a member of the women’s soccer team, Looman was known both on and off the field for her hard work and charisma. Head women’s soccer coach Clare McBane played alongside Looman as a fellow student-athlete before becoming her coach for the last two years.
“When I think about Amanda, I think of laughter,” said McBane in a statement.
“She was always smiling and just hilarious; you couldn’t not like her.”
Those close to Looman flooded social media the evening of and days following her death, sharing photos, memories and extending condolences to members of the Looman family.
Chris Ogden said that Looman “brought happiness, compassion, perspective and love to the world.” As an employee at Victoria’s Secret, Looman wanted to help women realize they could be “beautiful not only in body but in clothes, too,” he said.
“She was very talkative, bright-eyed and able to laugh whatever the occasion,” he recalled. “It was not uncommon to have deep conversations with her. She lifted up everyone she met.”
Braidy Lucas wrote that Looman “was the kind of person that could put a smile on anyone’s face no matter what they were going through.
“Amanda was the kind of person that touched everyone’s lives and I believe is still teaching us all a lesson,” she continued. “I know she taught me to never take anything for granted because you never know when it is your time to go. She was an amazing person and will be missed by so many people.”
Looman’s mother, Debra VanCamp, told the Herald-Star that she was “overwhelmed” by the support the family has received. Speaking at a candlelight vigil in memory of Looman on Oct. 24, she remembered her daughter as a “kind-hearted, free-spirited and adventurous person.”
“She loved life,” VanCamp told the Herald-Star. “Amanda was a very unselfish person. I remember when she went to get her driver’s license she came home and told me the people at the license bureau asked if she wanted to be an organ donor. I told her if she wanted to be an organ donor that was fine. This week she was given the chance to give life to five other people through organ donations.”
Monsignor Gerald Calovini, pastor at Holy Family Catholic Church, where Looman was a parishioner, said at the vigil that the community is “deeply saddened” by Looman’s death and called for “continued support and prayers for her family.”
“Amanda has so many friends here tonight because she touched so many lives with her kindness,” he said, according to the Herald-Star. “Now is the time to rely on the Lord and ask for his strength.”
Shortly after the accident, Looman’s family and friends created a GiveForward.com fundraiser site to raise money for medical bills. As of Nov. 8, more than $16,500 was raised to cover expenses.
Looman was a 2010 graduate of Steubenville Catholic Central High School and was on track to graduate from Franciscan in December. She was also accepted to start the masters in business administration program at Franciscan in January.
Plans for a memorial Mass in honor of Looman are under discussion and will be announced at a later date.
The Amanda Kristine Looman Memorial Scholarship fund has been established at Franciscan University. The scholarship will be awarded to a Steubenville Catholic Central High School graduate. Those desiring to make gifts in Looman’s memory may send a check made out to: Franciscan University, with Amanda Kristine Looman Memorial Scholarship in the memo line of the check. Donations may be sent to the Development Office, Franciscan University of Steubenville, 1235 University Boulevard, Steubenville, OH 43952. Or contact the Development office at 800-783-6447.
In the spring of 2011, alumna Meghan Green was killed after being thrown from her car and into oncoming University Boulevard traffic. Sophomore Kelly Roggensack died in August 2008 after the car she was a passenger in swerved to avoid tire debris and drove into a wooded area.