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RIP Tolamariam Nemomsa: Pennsylvania sophomore dies age 21

Bruno Cooke January 28, 2022
College Students at University of Pennsylvania

Tolamariam “Tola” Nemomsa, a sophomore student at the University of Pennsylvania, has passed away age 21, The Daily Pennsylvanian reports.

RIP Tolamariam Nemomsa: college sophomore dies age 21

Tolamariam Nemomsa – whom his friends and family knew as “Tola” – died last week in his off-campus apartment. He was just 21 years old.

Students were informed of his passing in an email sent today (Friday, 28 January 2022) on behalf of the university’s senior management, including president Amy Gutmann. 

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Source: LinkedIn [Tola Nemomsa]

“Tola was deeply admired and loved by his peers at Makuu: The Black Cultural Center at Penn,” the DP quotes the email as saying.

What was he studying?

Tola Nemomsa studied urban planning, development economics and international development at the University of Pennsylvania, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He previously attended Rangeview High School, from 2014 to 2018, graduating sixth out of a class of 540.

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Nemomsa was born outside Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. He moved to Colorado in 2005, and began his studies at Penn in 2018.

How is the University of Pennsylvania responding to Tolamariam Nemomsa’s death?

The university is holding a virtual support session for friends and peers of Nemomsa’s. It will take place at 12.30pm local time via this link. Otherwise, students can access the university’s counselling and psychological services, including Let’s Talk (free and confidential drop-in conversations), here.

Per the DP, staff at Makuu will also be available for support. 

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Makuu: The Black Cultural Centre, at which Nemomsa studied, is part of the University of Pennsylvania. It specialises in black culture and the African diaspora

Black student presence at the university dates to 1879. That year, three black students – William Adger, Nathan Mossell and James Brister – enrolled. 

The centre’s first director was Dr Karlene Burrell-McRae, whom Dr Brian Peterson succeeded in 2011.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Tola Nemomsa at this difficult time.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or