Campus mourns student's death

March 23, 2001

Manuel Figueroa co-news editor, Hullabaloo

Cherice Amanda Cochrane, a Newcomb College sophomore from San Antonio majoring in Spanish and International Relations, died Wednesday morning, March 21, from meningococcal blood infection. Friends and faculty mourned the 19-year-old's death, and a memorial service is tentatively scheduled for March 30 at 4 p.m. in Rogers Chapel.

Cochrane's friends describe her as a cheerful person, most affectionately remembering her smile. She was very involved with the campus community. Cochrane was six members away from receiving national accreditation for a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that she founded.

"She was passionate in her beliefs, she stood strong, so strong ... and I loved her smile," Wiline Justilien, Newcomb freshman, said. Justilien was a close friend to Cochrane and met her before attending Tulane.

According to Justilien, while searching for Tulane students she saw that Cochrane's away message contained a quote from a book she was reading at the time. "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum" (Don't let the bastards grind you down), from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, brought the two friends together. "We'll most definitely realize her dream," Justilien commented on Cochrane's goal of bringing an NAACP chapter to Tulane.

"Cherice was a very bright and articulate young woman with vision and determination in eliminating injustice and societal inequities. She will be missed deeply by the Tulane University community and the lives she touched," said Carolyn Barber-Pierre, Director of Multicultural Affairs.

Roberto Pasquier, Multicultural Council head and School of Engineering senior, became better friends with Cochrane while organizing projects for the multicultural community. "She was a genuine good person there are very few people who have a good heart, and she was one of them," Pasquier said.

She was a member of Students Organized Against Racism, African-American Congress of Tulane, Student Admission Committee and the African American Women's Forum. She also worked at the Tulane Weekend Academy.

"She was always willing to help out. She participated in everything and was very committed to improving Tulane," Beth Bagneris, Newcomb sophomore and chairperson of SOAR, said. They became good friends through campus organizations.

Mandy Sheldon, a Newcomb sophomore, remembers how she and Cochrane "kept joking" about starting a Tulane University campus chapter of Girl Scouts. "We knew it was just a joke because we were both so busy," Sheldon said. "She really did a lot. Tulane University as a community has really lost."

"Cherice was a great person, always saying 'hi' to people and smiling. She would do the smallest things just to make you laugh," Cara Pember, Newcomb sophomore and resident of Cochrane's floor, said. "She really seemed to know what she wanted out of life. We shared many of the same interests and I'm going to miss her a lot."

"The hardest part of losing Cherice is the fact that it's the most beautiful, most loving, most caring people that are taken from us too soon in life. She was always smiling and selfless in giving her time to others," Gina Cordero, Newcomb sophomore, said. She met Cochrane freshman year in the Tulane chorus. "The light that she spread on those people she interacted with will never be able to be replaced, because the light is made of something uniquely Cherice. Her smiles were contagious and will continue to be as we hold her close in our memory."

"It's a shame that the nicest day didn't seem so bright when I found out I lost one of the few people I came to admire. Her smile will be with me for the rest of my life," Michael Gomez, Tulane College freshman, said. "Besides everything else, she was funny not was, but is," Rochelle McConico, Newcomb junior, said.

If any students are in need of counseling, Dr. Jillandra Rovaris has offered her availability. She can be reached at the Educational Resources and Counseling center.

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