- Georgetown University law student Cedric Asiavugwa was among the 157 killed when an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday morning.
- The 32-year-old was on his way home to Kenya to attend the funeral of his fiancé’s mother.
- An email sent out to the Georgetown community described Asiavugwa as a “stellar student” and “a dedicated champion for social justice.”
A Georgetown University law student is among the 157 dead after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday morning near Addis Ababa.
Cedric Asiavugwa, a third-year student at Georgetown Law, was on his way home to Kenya to attend the funeral of his fiancé’s mother, according to an email from law school Dean William Treanor and Rev. Mark Bosco, Georgetown’s vice president for mission and ministry.
“With his passing, the Georgetown family has lost a stellar student, a great friend to many, and a dedicated champion for social justice across East Africa and the world,” the statement said.
Sarah Decker was one of Asiavugwa’s classmates, and told WJLA he talked about being nervous to fly back to Africa in their last conversation.
Decker said Asiavugwa was supposed to spend spring break visiting friends in Chicago, but had to change his plans at the last minute when his fiancé’s mother died.
She said she told Asiavugwa to relax by thinking about something other than the flight.
“It was almost surreal getting that email because it was what he had feared when he was talking to us about flying. So that was really hard,” Decker told WJLA.
She added: “He was brilliant, really kind, and very humble. He always had something really amazing to say.”
The Georgetown email spelled out Asiavugwa’s many accomplishments, from helping found an organisation to help women and children fleeing war-torn Somalia to working at a free school in Kenya for orphans with HIV/AIDS.
Born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, Asiavugwa graduated with “highest honours” from the University of Zimbabwe, where he earned a BA in philosophy, according to the email.
At Georgetown, he was studying towards a joint JD-LLM degree in International Business and Economic Law and planned to return to Kenya after graduation to use his advanced degree to help refugees.
In addition to his school work, Asiavugwa interned in the Law Center’s Campus Ministry office, was a Residential Minister in a campus dorm, and assisted refugee clients applying for asylum in the Center for Applied Legal Studies clinic.
“Beyond his many commitments and contributions, Cedric’s friends and faculty in this community remember him as a kind, compassionate and gentle soul, known for his beautifully warm and infectious smile,” the email read. “This is a tragic loss for Cedric’s family and loved ones, for Georgetown and for the broader social justice community that benefited every day from his passion, compassion and dedication.”
Joey Edmundson was one of the freshman in Asiavugwa’s dorm. He told NBC Washington Asiavugwa would have pizza in his room on Mondays, so that students could come in and ask him questions.
“He was a great resource for us,” Edmundson told NBC. “It was amazing too because he was actually going to school for law and he still made time for us, to talk to us, so it was really inspiring.”
The school held a special mass for Asiavugwa Sunday evening.
- Read more about the Ethiopian Airlines crash on INSIDER:
- The black box from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines flight has been found
- An Ethiopian Airlines passenger said he missed the crashed flight by 2 minutes: ‘I’m grateful to be alive’
- People of 35 different nationalities were killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, including 8 Americans
- Another Boeing 737MAX has crashed leaving no survivors. This time it was flying with Ethiopian Airlines.
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