Viewing held for university president killed in bicycle accident

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA)- A viewing was held Sunday for former Converse University President Jeffery Barker, who died July 21 in a bicycle crash on Meadowbrook Road.

It was a day for mourning for many people.

Dr. Barker was a huge part of the Spartanburg community.

The death of Barker sent a shockwave through Spartanburg.

“Stunned and then incredibly saddened at the loss,” described former Board of Trustees member at Converse, Kim Kent.

Barker had worked at the university for more than 20 years and was highly involved in the community.

Kent says she has countless memories with the Barker.

Barker, “I spent a lot of time with dr. Barker and I think in the end what I would say about him as it relates to converse is you knew in the first few minutes of speaking to him his love for students.”

Since his death 7 News has learned just how vital he was to making Converse University what it is today.

“He had planned to return to the classroom to teach after his services as the president of the University. I think his students would say, I think his colleagues would say that that really was his first love,” Kent said.

Many friends and family joined Sunday for the viewing, to honor who he was and remember his legacy.

Kent said, “The impact that he made on that campus over the last 20 years or so will be felt for many many years to come.”

A campus-wide memorial will be held at Converse University on August 27th.

The memorial will also be live-streamed and a memorial fund has been set up.

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