Beloved in the Scripps College community as a friendly spirit and lively thinker, Morgan Malkovich SC ’18 passed away on May 20, 2015 due to complications from a 2011 surgery. Scripps will hold a memorial service for Malkovich today, Nov. 6, at 4 p.m. in Margaret Fowler Garden.
“With the memorial, I want to honor and celebrate her life and her contributions to the Scripps community,” said Sonia De La Torre-Iniguez, senior assistant dean of academic resources and services at Scripps. “Her spirit will continue to be here. The memorial is a way to cement that for the community.”
Born in 1993 in Hawaii, Malkovich deferred enrollment from Scripps for several years before matriculating in the fall of 2014. Scripps was her dream school, and her parents moved to Claremont to be her full-time caregivers while she attended. In February of her second semester, her health took a turn for the worse and she was forced to take a leave of absence. She passed away that spring.
De La Torre-Iniguez, who helped organize the memorial service, first got to know Malkovich during the summer of 2014. She said that Malkovich came to Scripps because she wanted to “participate in an educational experience that she thought really challenged people to think about their place and their impact in the world.”
In her short time at Scripps, Malkovich was known to many community members for her friendliness and positive energy, according to Malkovich’s classmate and friend Helen Thomason SC ‘18.
“Morgan and I had Core II together,” Thomason said. “It was a small class that was discussion-based, so I got to know her that way. We would often grab lunch together.”
Thomason, who will speak at Malkovich’s memorial service on Nov. 6, recalled one instance when Malkovich welcomed her to sit with a group of her friends who Thomason did not know well.
“She was very welcoming and very excited to be at Scripps,” she said.
In the Core II class Thomason and Malkovich shared, Constructions of (Dis)Ability, Malkovich’s experience contributed to powerful class discussions, according to professor Kimberly Drake.
“Even on the first day of class, Morgan was generous and courageous, sharing personal stories about herself and her own experience in a way that facilitated an energetic and substantial discussion,” Drake wrote on the Malkovich’s memorial website. “The class was quickly able to form a community of trust largely because of Morgan’s honesty.”
Thomason echoed this sentiment:
“She was very genuine, very articulate, and she would always back up her opinions well,” she said. “She was able to speak her mind in a very respectful way. Every time I saw her she had a smile on her face.”
According to Thomason and De La Torre-Iniguez, Malkovich was active in the first-generation college student community at Scripps.
“She was very active in the first-gen program, and was very proud of being first gen,” De La Torre-Iniguez said. “Like many first-gen students, she felt a tremendous amount of gratitude for being here but also this responsibility to serve as a role model to others.”
Malkovich was also passionate about Hawaiian culture, according to Thomason and De-La Torre-Iniguez, and she had a strong interest in theatre.
Lena Fox PO ‘17, who attended the same high school as Malkovich, said that she first met Malkovich during a production of “Beauty and the Beast” at the Maui Academy of Performing Arts. Fox later got to know Malkovich and her family when she worked at Camp Imua, a summer camp for disabled children in which Malkovich was very involved.
“I always just remember her always being very genuinely nice to everyone she met, and anyone who wanted to come hang out with her,” Fox said. “She was welcoming and a very kind person, very open, and always giving to other people.”
De La Torre-Iniguez said that Malkovich had a “peaceful, graceful presence about her.”
“Every time people met with her, they just felt good,” De La Torre-Iniguez said. “She had the ability to really make your heart smile.”
Malkovich’s online memorial can be viewed here.
Laruen Ison contributed reporting.