BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two hundred people including LSU professors, faculty, and students gathered Friday to honor the life of a doctoral student killed in a bike accident earlier this week.
Zachariah "Zach"Wood, 26, was hit by a vehicle Saturday evening while crossing Lee Drive on his bike.
"He just loved - whole-hearted - he just loved people," said one student at a ceremony held in the LSU Student Union.
Originally from San Francisco, Wood was a PhD student in the LSU School of Kinesiology. An accomplished scholar, his graduate advisor Alex Garn said he had several articles published.
"[He was] very thoughtful, very intellectual, but then could joke with you the next second," Garn said.
Beyond the academics, he was described as a man with an infectious smile and an uncanny ability to befriend everyone he met.
"It's hard to miss one thing about him because he was an all-around good friend and good person," said friend Derek Miketinas. "Whenever you talked to him, it was like no one else mattered. It was just you and him having a conversation."
"He had this charisma that just attracted people in," Garn said.
A very tall man, he was an athlete, playing basketball and serving as a golf instructor to LSU students.
Wood also served as a mentor to young kids. Over the summer, he lead a camp called the Tiger's Den for elementary and middle schoolers.
He inspired at least one of the camp counselors he worked with to become a teacher.
After the ceremony, a candlelight vigil was held on the steps of the Memorial Tower.
Many said he left a legacy that will live on.
"I'm going to take all the things that he taught – which were quite a lot – and just try and do my best to be the person he was," Garn said.