MC honors former Student Senate President during tree planting

Almost five months since his death, Michael Conte is still impacting those on Marietta College’s campus.

More than 150 family and friends gathered on the College Mall to pay tribute to Conte during a special tree planting ceremony and the unveiling of a memorial bench — both located outside Erwin Hall — on a sunny Sunday afternoon (April 10). He was also remembered during the Spring Honors Convocation later in the day with two scholarships that carry his name.

Among those attending Sunday were his parents — Armand and Colleen — and his girlfriend — Leah Gildea.

“Thank you for sharing Michael with us for 2 1/2 years,” said junior Michael Joliat, one of Conte’s closest friends and the person who replaced Conte as Student Senate President after his death. “As you can tell Michael meant a lot to a lot of people at Marietta.”

Conte died in a single-car accident on his 21st birthday (Nov. 28, 2004) as he and his girlfriend returned from a play in New York City. Conte, a junior education major from Mays Landing, N.J., was pronounced dead at the scene. Gildea sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized for several days.

Conte, a well-known student for his leadership roles on campus, was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He was also the second floor resident assistant at Mary Beach residence hall, a McDonough Scholar, a member of the crew his freshman year and he attended St. Mary's Church in Marietta.