BSU Holds a Memorial Service for
Academic Advisor Patrick Toney
By Jocelyn Jones
Mourning the loss of one of its own, the Bowie State University community gathered April 24 in CLT 102 for a memorial service for Patrick Raphael Toney, a longtime academic advisor to hundreds of undergraduate students at the historically black university.
The memorial service, which was organized by the university’s Academic Advisement Center staff, paid tribute to Mr. Toney through prayer and remembrances. The service was attended by Dr. Yvette Galloway, center director, and academic advisors Gloria Alexander, Aurora Burke, Dr. Angela Williams and Dr. Michael Hughes as well as students, staff, faculty and administrators.
Mr. Toney, 41, of Odenton, Md., was born Oct. 11, 1970 in Clarksdale, Miss. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1998 and a master’s degree in 2000 both in English from Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss. He joined the Bowie State University community as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of English and Modern Languages in August 2001. The following year, Mr. Toney became a full-time retention coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences.
While at Bowie State, Mr. Toney developed strong friendships among faculty and staff. He considered Dr. Cosmas U. Nwokeafor, interim dean of the Graduate School, as his big brother and knew that he was always there when he needed him. At the time of his passing, Mr. Toney served as academic advisor to hundreds of students majoring in communications and natural sciences. He loved to teach, advise students and constantly used technology to get things done.
Family, friends and colleagues remembered Mr. Toney as a humble, respectful, caring and motivated person who loved his job and could not wait to get to Bowie State University in the morning.
“Patrick Toney did many things, he went to school, college and pledged Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity,” said Dr. Sammye Miller chairman of the Department of History and Government. “He was a great husband, father, teacher, and advisor. He did what he was supposed to do.”
The Epsilon Sigma chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. at Bowie State presented a memorial to their late fraternity brother’s family signed by students of the university.
“We are here at this comfort gathering to say goodbye to a colleague and friend,” Dr. Galloway said in her remarks.
Mr. Toney was remembered for his catchphrase: “What does the policy say?” and for his love for his students whom he challenged to develop into critical thinkers with a healthy intellectual curiosity.
Mr. Toney’s coworkers in the Academic Advisement Center showed their deep concern for their stricken colleague by visiting him while he was on life support at Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie, Md. Mr. Toney died on April 17. He is survived by his wife Tanya Toney; two daughters; his parents, and three sisters.
At the end of the memorial service, guests lined the paved walkway in front of the CLT building to release red and white balloons that floated across the sky.
The memorial service ended a bizarre odyssey that began shortly before 8 p.m. on April 13 when Mr. Toney stopped the black Jeep Cherokee he was driving in the southbound lane of Piney Orchard Parkway near Odenton Road, according to a statement issued April 19 by the Anne Arundel County Police Department.
In attempt to determine if the driver needed assistance, authorities said a police sergeant approached him. Upon exiting the vehicle, Mr. Toney began to throw items out of the vehicle onto the ground. When the sergeant asked if everything was OK, Mr. Toney stated that he wanted the sergeant to shoot him.
“The driver continually acted in an erratic manner by walking around in circles in the roadway and making other irrational statements, causing an immediate danger to himself,” police said. The sergeant believed that the driver was having a possible mental health related emergency.
While being handcuffed for his safety and the officer’s safety, Mr. Toney was subsequently placed in leg shackles along with a spit hood to protect the officers against exposure to infectious diseases. Mr. Toney was taken into custody for an emergency evaluation at the Baltimore Washington Medical Center, police said.
While in the police vehicle, Mr. Toney attempted to kick out the windows and the glass partition of the caged patrol vehicle, police said. Upon his arrival at the hospital, Mr. Toney was not breathing; however he was revived by hospital staff and admitted into the hospital. The police department was notified on April 18 that Mr. Toney had died at the hospital.