Dream of Fallen Alumna Lives On With Celebration of Life Event

June 07, 2016

Quick Facts

bullet point Janiva Willis earned degrees from Winthrop in 2005 and 2008.
bullet point She tragically died on April 12.
bullet point The Celebration of Life event will be Saturday, June 11, from 9-11:30 a.m. in Dina's Place.


ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - On March 26, Winthrop University Hall of Famer Janiva Willis set out to change the world with the Dream Challenge Tour. The two-time alumna planned to bike 3,714 miles-from San Diego to Charlotte-to raise money for and awareness of the importance of mentors in the lives of youth.

On April 12, Willis' journey was cut devastatingly short when she and her riding partner tragically died, approximately halfway through their trip.

But her dream lives on.

Join the Winthrop community on Saturday, June 11, for a celebration of Willis' life, a life that touched people across the country. From 9-11:30 a.m., people will share beloved memories and photos in Dina's Place in the DiGiorgio Campus Center.

Afterward, people are invited to join the ride and complete the last leg of the tour. The approximately 26-mile trip will take riders from the Winthrop Amphitheatre to Independence Park in Charlotte.

Since Willis' tragic passing, bike clubs from other states committed to cycle the miles Willis would have completed on her tour, including organizations in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

People can also continue to support her dream via donations to her non-profit organization, I Dream in Colors, and the scholarship in her name at Winthrop. To make a contribution in support of the Janiva Willis Endowed Softball Scholarship, visit /advancement/make-a-gift.aspx.

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