“My heart is broken because I miss Dr. Sorensen terribly,” Preston said, calling Sorensen his teacher, mentor, friend and hero. “He taught us all to love and respect one another, to serve a cause bigger than ourselves and to dream big.”
Other university and community leaders, including I.S. Leevy Johnson, a USC law graduate, former Mayor Bob Coble and S.C. NAACP president Lonnie Randolph offered their memories of Sorensen.
Johnson said Sorensen loved being president of the University of South Carolina, “a school of higher education that took pride in its diversity – but, more importantly, in its inclusiveness.”
Dr. Harris Pastides, who succeeded Sorensen as USC’s president, spoke of his bond with Sorensen, which dated back to their days in the mid-1980s at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
“Every one of us here was part of Andrew Sorensen’s community circle,” Pastides said. “Whether family, friend, colleague or distant admirer, we were embraced, we were challenged and we were made better by his touch.
He also spoke of the need to continue Sorensen’s work – “work that Andrew advanced in very large measure, but it is work that no individual can complete alone. It is the work that is dedicated to the goals of individual excellence, progress for our communities and absolute equality and justice for all people all of the time.”
In honor of Sorensen’s love for bicycling, a bicycle brigade of about a dozen cyclists rode to the Koger Center from USC’s Horseshoe before the start of the service. Sorensen’s bicycle was also on stage for the tribute.