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Mourners put photos and candles on the LOVE statue during a vigil to remember Tola Nemomsa on Jan. 30. Credit: Kylie Cooper

College sophomore Tolamariam Nemomsa died last week in his off-campus apartment at the age of 21.

In a Jan. 28 email sent on behalf of President Amy Gutmann, Interim Provost Beth Winkelstein, and Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences Steven J. Fluharty, Vice Provost for University Life Mamta Motwani Accapadi informed undergraduate students of Nemomsa's death.

Nemomsa — known as "Tola" to family and friends — was passionate about public health and urban development and pursued these studies at Penn. He lived in Hill College House from 2018 to 2019, and W.E.B. Du Bois College House in the fall 2019 semester.

"Tola was deeply admired and loved by his peers at Makuu: The Black Cultural Center at Penn," the email wrote.

Nemomsa, who came to Penn from Aurora, Colo., was outspoken about community health. He was selected as a Pre-Health Scholar at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus prior to coming to Penn. He was also honored as one of the top ten graduates from Rangeview High School, which he attended.

The University will host a virtual support session for Nemomsa's peers and the Penn community at 12:30 p.m. The Let’s Talk program at Counseling and Psychological Services will have staff available for confidential drop-in conversations at Van Pelt Library Room 123 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Staff at Makuu will be available in the ARCH today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m today and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for students to find support.


The HELP Line: 215-898-HELP

Counseling and Psychological Services: 215-898-7021 (active 24/7)

Student Health Service: 215-746-3535

Office of the Vice Provost for University Life: 215-898-6081

University Chaplain’s Office: 215-898-8456

Reach-A-Peer Helpline:

  • 215-573-2727 (every day from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.)
  • 215-515-7332 (texting service available 24/7)