Memorial Fund for Lauren McCluskey Raises $94,000

Lauren McCluskey Memorial Fund. (Source:

By Mandi Johansen


Content Warning: This article mentions the events of Lauren McCluskey’s death.

In the wake of the death of University of Utah track athlete Lauren McCluskey, a memorial fund was set up in her name. According to a page on the U’s Development Office website, “This fund has been established to honor the memory of Lauren McCluskey. Lauren’s family has suggested funds collected here support future scholarships for student-athletes in track and field.”

The Lauren McCluskey memorial fund reached nearly $100,000 as of March 21 according to a tweet by McCluskey’s mother:

Over 500 individual donors have given to the fund, which will provide scholarships to students on the school’s track and field team. Many of the contributions have come from people in Utah, but several dozens of donors are from McCluskey’s native Washington state. Other donations have been sent in from abroad.

Lauren McCluskey, a 21-year-old communication major, was shot and killed by someone she had previously dated, Melvin Rowland, on the U’s campus in October of 2018 before he killed himself in a nearby church. Rowland was a previous sex offender and was on parole at the time. She had previously asked for help from university police because he was abusive and controlling, but the university police did not handle the situation as well as they could have.

Seran An, a close friend of Lauren’s and a junior in the U’s EAE program, commented, “We will remember this case and support for positive change so that other parents don’t lose their daughters to violence while attending college.”

The memorial fund helps the community to remember the amazing person that McCluskey was and helps her to continue to touch the lives of athletes for years to come. According to her obituary, McCluskey ran in her first track meet at only eight years old and competed nationally in track for many years. She was well-rounded and enjoyed dancing, singing and writing in addition to volunteering at the local humane society, the YMCA and at the Special Olympics. She was at the U on a track scholarship to compete in the Pac-12 conference. She competed in the multi-events and the high jump.

Lauren McCluskey is fondly remembered at the U and throughout the community especially among her family, friends and other student-athletes.

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