News of the reported beheading of Steven Sotloff by ISIS militants spread through the University of Central Florida campus quickly.
The 31-year-old journalist attended school at the Orlando campus from 2002 to 2004 and studied journalism.
"I really wish this had not happened. I wish we could get him back," said student Gregg Dunmire. "But sadly, I am not surprised. You cannot reason with people like this."
Brandon Kyle, also in the school of communication said, "It is so sad. It feels unreal. We are all walking around with heavy hearts today."
Kimberly Boss, the area coordinator for journalism at the school, said students had been discussing Sotloff's awful plight since the semester began.
Some of the students even tracked down his roommate at the time.
"He told them that Steven was aware of the risks, but he wanted to go and cover what needed to be said," Boss said.
When asked if Sotloff's death would deter her students from pursuing journalism, Boss replied, "No, quite the opposite. While they feel really sad, they also know journalism is in your blood, like it was in Steven's. They understand that. To them it’s something he did on behalf of all of us.”
While a student, Sotloff wrote for the school newspaper, The Central Florida Future.
Editor in Chief Ryan Gillespie said Sotloff worked there in 2004 and was a senior staff writer. He covered the 2004 presidential race, international issues and breaking news.
The president of the university also reacted to Sotloff's death.
"Our UCF family mourns Steven's death, and we join millions around the world who are outraged at this despicable and unjustifiable act,” John C. Hitt said in a written statement.
"It is just so sad, and right now we are thinking of his family," said Boss.