BUFFALO, N.Y. -- BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nicholas Figueroa was one of nearly 30 members of the SUNY Buffalo State family honored Friday afternoon.
Figueroa was one of two people killed March 26 in a building explosion in New York City's East Village. He was 23.
For the past 14 years, the college has held an annual Celebration of Life. Buff State President Kate Conway-Turner said the college does it because so many people on campus work closely together, making any loss difficult. She said Figueroa's death was especially hard to process.
"Nicholas had just left the campus, he had just graduated, his life was really ahead of him, so his friends are really still right here on campus. There's no distance between his loss and the campus community," Conway-Turner said.
Buff State has made counselors available for students experiencing grief or pain following his death.
"It's particularly difficult to lose a young person and one that we just had no thought that we would not be seeing Nicholas in May when he'd come back for graduation," Conway-Turner said.
Sultan Bagudu was Figueroa's roommate at Buff State. He attended Figueroa's funeral earlier this week. He said it meant a lot to see support for his friend on campus.
"It's good to know that he was recognized, not just at home from where he's from but also where he goes, because it shows he's made an impact," Bagudu said.
Bagudu said Figueroa graduated with a degree in criminal justice with aspirations of becoming a police officer. He said Figueroa won't be defined by the explosion that took his life, rather his warm smile and quirky personality.
"The discussions about relationships, the discussions about girls, the discussions about future, Nick will be remembered for all of that,” Bagudu said.