Pi Kappa Phi to host memorial run for loss of brother

Jeremy Taylor Conant (left) poses with Pi Kappa Phi fraternity brother Jackson Navarre (right).

Mississippi State University’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity is hosting their first annual Jeremy Taylor Conant Memorial 5k Color Run this Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The $20 entry fee will include a t-shirt, and all proceeds will go towards the newly-established Jeremy Taylor Conant Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Jeremy Taylor Conant, a former member of Pi Kappa Phi, passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 27, 2019 from pneumonia. Mason Berkowitz, a senior management major and a friend of Conant, described the moment he was informed of Conant’s passing. His pledge class president called him at work and told him to step outside for some hard news.

“I went outside and he told me and I kind of just went blank,” Berkowitz said. “I didn’t really know what to expect. One of our mottos is that these are the guys who will marry you and bury you, and when the burying came first it really hit home on how much he and this place actually meant to me."

Conant’s little, Jackson Navarre, a junior studying Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business, said Conant’s death showed him the strength and warmth of the MSU family. 

“Coming to Mississippi State, I was expecting to be just another student at an SEC school. After going through this, I realized Mississippi State values each student. I saw people from all walks of life wrap their arms around myself and my brothers. From classmates, professors, greek life, counseling services, city officials, Starkville residents, all the way up to the Dean’s office. They all extended their arms to our chapter in a time of need,” Navarre said. 

Navarre remembers Conant as a person who would give anybody the shirt off his back, no questions asked. This is part of the motivation for the scholarship fund they are setting up in his name. 

“The goal is for his legacy to live on, and we think this is the best way for that to be done,” Navarre said.

The scholarship is meant to help a student at the university. The color run is the first step in raising this money. 

“There is nothing he would want more than for people to come to this university and benefit from his name. The scholarship will go to a certain student that meets the qualifications. This is through the MSU foundation as an endowment which we do need to raise money for, and this color run will help pay for the endowment,” Berkowitz said.

Conant left a lasting impression on his fraternity, even those who did not personally know him. Justin Lowery, a sophomore wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major, said Conant made a big impact on his fraternity. 

“It has meant so much to those who knew Jeremy that they have instilled how important (the scholarship) is. I’ve heard that he was very kind, very active in the fraternity and a good leader. He’s been a big loss to the fraternity as a whole,” Lowery said. 

Along with the scholarship, the brothers are simply trying to create more awareness of Conant and the color run. 

“First and foremost, I’m just spreading awareness. We’ve gone to Panhellenic executive and delegates, so that we can speak in chapters to spread more awareness,” Berkowitz said.

Raising awareness and honoring Jeremy is important to his brothers, but also his family. His mom and grandparents have been a large part in supporting the brothers as they have begun raising money for the scholarship. 

“His mom and his grandparents are very involved in it, I talk to them almost everyday,” Navarre said. “They are always asking for updates. They love the idea of the scholarship in his name, and they are going to be here the day of the color run to be as involved as possible and see how many people come to support.”

Those interested in participating in the run can sign up through the color run memorial website

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