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Harding University pays tribute to alumnus murdered three years ago

Hundreds of people gathered for the unveiling of a memorial celebrating the life of Botham Jean and the impact he had on the school.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Harding University honored the life of Botham Jean on his birthday, more than three years after his death at the hands of a Dallas police officer. Jean graduated from the university in 2016. He would have been 30.

His family, along with hundreds of people gathered for the unveiling of a memorial celebrating his life and the impact he had on the school.  

"The slogan, 'Be Like Bo' was coined as more than a hashtag. It is symbolic of living an ambitious life. It t makes me a very proud mom and I'm sure the rest of my family shares in that pride," said Botham Jean's mother, Allison Jean.

Dr. Todd Gentry is the college's Church of Christ campus minister. He said Jean would be in his office frequently when Jean was on campus, he'd be in his office often. 

The memorial is located in front of the American Heritage Center and features stone seats on two sides where people can sit. 

Gentry said it's the perfect spot: Jean loved the cafeteria right inside the center. 

"Even though we've lost someone we love, there's no question that his influence continues to make an impact on people. Since his death, there's a slogan that's come out: 'Be Like Bo,'" said Gentry.

He said if you were down, Jean would sing to try and cheer you up.

'The Good News' is an on-campus musical group that Jean was a part of during his time at Harding. They performed at the ceremony.

Chuck Hicks is an assistant professor of music at Harding University who remembers Jean fondly in the group. They'd travel together often for performances. 

He said Botham would talk about life and his dreams. 

He was an enthusiastic singer. 

"His passion was for music, but it wasn't just for music. It was music of faith that reminded us of things we stand for at a university in a world of chaos stands for something," said Hicks.

The social club, Sub T-16 was in attendance. Botham Jean was also a part of their organization while a student on campus.

His line brother, Thomas Schluer remembers his genuine spirit. 

"He actually wanted to know about you. He wanted to know what made you who you were. Where you came from. Where you had been through," said Schluer. "If he asked you questions it wasn't the typical small talk conversations. You were going to get to know him and he was going to get to know you."

Jean's brother, Brandt Jean was awarded the first-ever Botham Jean Inspiration Award for his forgiving heart towards ex-patrol officer Amber Guyer. 

Jean's family is encouraging people to donate $30 for his 30th birthday to the Botham Jean Foundation.