March 23, 2001

This has been a very difficult and sad week for all of us. By now you have all probably heard the tragic news that one of our students, Cherice Amanda Cochrane, passed away this week. The Tulane community is devastated by the death of Cherice. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this most difficult time.

Cherice, a sophomore in Newcomb College, was an exceptional student who embodied the Tulane spirit in her enthusiasm and giving of self. She was active in a host of campus organizations including the African American Congress of Tulane, the African-American Women's Forum, the Justice Coalition, the Pre-Law Society, the Student Admissions Committee and Students Organized Against Racism. She was also a founding member of the Tulane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and most recently was selected as a program coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs Ambassador Program. She has also been nominated for the Tulane University Emerging Leaders Award.

According to the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office, Cherice died of meningococcal blood infection. Public health officials have told us that only those individuals who were in close physical contact with Cherice in the last week of her life should consult a physician for a preventive vaccination and medication and that there is no need for public alarm. Those individuals known to be at high risk have already by notified.

Dr. Newton Hyslop, chief of infectious diseases in the department of medicine at Tulane's Health Sciences Center, says the risk of infection to other adults is extremely low, even when an individual is a carrier of the bacteria that causes meningococcal disease.

Tulane personnel are available at (504) 862-3107 to answer questions on this matter. A website at has also been established to make immediately available updated information.

Further information is available from the Office of Public Health, infectious diseases epidemiology section, at (504) 568-5005.

The University will hold a service in memory of Cherice. Planning for the service is underway. Comments or suggestions can be forwarded to Tulane's Office of Student Affairs at (504) 865-5180.

This tragedy is a stark reminder of the fragility of life.


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638