“When Larry talked about this day, he didn’t want it to be a big sad occasion,” University Chaplain Chaz Howard said as he opened a ceremony in celebration of the life of Charles “Larry” Moses. “He wanted it to be a celebration of a life well lived.”
Wednesday evening, the Penn community joined with family members and friends of Moses at Irvine Auditorium to honor the late Office of Student Affairs/Fraternity Sorority Life program coordinator. The ceremony commemorated Moses’ life as a member of the Penn community, of the theater arts community and as a brother and a friend.
Moses suffered a heart attack in March and had battled cardiac health issues since that time. He was 60 years old when he died on Oct. 14.
As friends and family of Moses took their seats, a large screen on stage encouraged the community to “Tweet From Your Seat.” Through this, those in attendance tweeted memories of Moses with the hashtag #RememberingLarry, and their tweets were later shown for all to see.
Before the ceremony began, the Penn Glee Club performed “Amazing Grace” and “Afterglow” as photos of Moses flashed across the screen.
“The shows and work he did to lighten our hearts and to help our steps were done in this theater,” Vice Provost for University Life Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum said, touching on Moses’ expansive acting and directing background. “Memories of Larry fill this space and this campus.”
After McCoullum spoke, Penn Women’s Center Director and Annenberg School for Communication professor Felicity Paxton read a letter on behalf of President Amy Gutmann.
“Few individuals had made an impact on the Penn community like Larry did,” Gutmann said in the letter. “He poured an enormous amount of time and energy into caring for the young men and women who wore Greek letters here at Penn. Larry was a blessing to campus and will not soon be forgotten.”
Paxton then commented on her own relationship with Moses.
“Larry had a wicked sense of humor,” she said. “His American wit and my British sarcasm went well together.”
Penn’s Greek community was out in full force to show its support for Moses.
“Larry’s dedication to students and love for fraternity drove him to do great things,” OFSA Director Scott Reikofski said. “He brought energy and joy to every situation.”
“There was no place on earth where Larry couldn’t make a friend,” Reikofski added, recalling a trip the two took to Hollywood together. At one point during the trip, Reikofski lost Moses and eventually found him smoking a cigarette on a private balcony with Leonardo DiCaprio.
College senior and Multicultural Greek Council President Jacqueline Baron also commented on Moses’ generous and supportive personality.
“On Zeta Day in September 2010, Larry spotted me looking confused and hungry. He called me over to the Hummus table where he was working and gave me free food. That’s all you need to do to be good in my book,” Baron said. “He had my back even back then, before I was in MGC.”
In addition to his more than 15 years at Penn, Moses was also an active member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
“Phi Beta Sigma was Larry’s family and we loved him,” International First Vice President of Phi Beta Sigma Jonathan Mason said. “Larry lived a life that exemplified the three core principles of Phi Beta Sigma — brotherhood, scholarship and service — but especially service.”
“Happiness was Larry Moses’ default position in life,” Ralph Peterson, who chose Moses as the best man at his wedding, added. “He was a spiritual advisor to me — not in a religious sense, but he taught us to play the cards we were dealt.”
Moses’ younger sister, Ann, was the last to speak at the service, which drew a few hundred people and lasted for about an hour and a half.
“In all of these stories, there is a common theme of love and deep and abiding friendships,” she said. “We are all family. May the legacy of Larry’s love continue in our hearts.”
In lieu of flowers, the Moses family is asking donations to be made to the Moses Multicultural Greek Leadership Fund, which will provide scholarship money to Penn MGC students to attend leadership conferences and seminars as well as advance leadership opportunities within the MGC.
Howard said that, since Moses’ death, many have already given to the fund.
“Larry will live on as the tens of thousands of students he has impacted will go on to touch others,” Reikofski added. “That is his legacy.”