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Qi He was a graduate student in the Master of Computer Information Technology Program at Penn

Africana Studies and Music doctoral student Courtney Brown, 31, died at his home in Michigan on July 9 after battling cancer, according to the Division of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Life 

The following day, Africana Studies Department Chair Barbara Savage notified the Africana Studies community in an email and described Brown as “…a stellar student and a warm, outgoing and valued member of our community. 

"Even after his illness led him to withdraw from the spring term, he continued to express his determination to return to continue his studies,” she wrote. “This had been our hope as well.”

Brown wrote on his Department of Music webpage that his academic work was an “ongoing examination of what it means to be ‘authentically’ black in contemporary America by listening in on black American contemporary music — in immediate moments of performance and reception as well as in historical context.”

According to his bio on the Africana Studies website, he received a bachelor’s degree from Albion College with a triple major in Music, English, and Ethnic Studies, and a master’s degree from California State University, Fullerton, in American Studies with an emphasis on Critical Race and Popular Studies.

This article was last updated at 10:57 p.m. Check back for updates.

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