More than 200 people gathered at Saint Mary’s University Friday to pay tribute to Loretta Saunders.

The pregnant student disappeared Feb. 13. Her body was found at the side of a highway near Salisbury, N.B. Feb. 26.

A man and woman who were once her roommates are now charged with first-degree murder in her death.

Saunders, a 26-year-old Inuk woman, was studying criminology at the university and had been writing a thesis proposal on missing and murdered aboriginal women.

“Loretta’s murder was not a coincidence, was not irony, was not senseless,” said Darryl Leroux, a professor of sociology and criminology at the university.

“Loretta herself expressed the ways of patronized colonial violence very clearly in her work.”

Saunders was three months pregnant and was due to graduate in May. Her death has had a profound impact on the school.

“Everyone loved her. She had so much patience for children,” said friend Jean Flowers. “They, like everyone else, couldn’t help but fall in love with her kindness and love.”

Her friends, professors and peers packed a hall at the school Friday as they shared stories and shed tears.

“Your life was truly precious. We all miss your glamour and cheer,” said friend Hilary Power. “Know that you’ll never be forgotten. I know your spirit still lingers here.”

The president of Saint Mary’s University says, if the family agrees, a scholarship will be named in Saunders’ memory.

In light of the tragedy, aboriginal students are vowing to help others at the university who want to connect with their native peers.

“We don’t want anyone to feel alone,” said Brittany Prosper, president of the SMU Aboriginal Society. “We don’t want them to feel like no one cares about them.”

Saunders’ family will say their goodbyes Saturday at her funeral in Goose Bay, N.L.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl