In Memoriam: Cedric Asiavugwa (L’19)

March 11, 2019

Dear Members of the Georgetown Community,

With a heavy heart, we write to share the terrible news that Cedric Asiavugwa, a third-year student at Georgetown Law, a member of Georgetown University’s Campus Ministry and Residential Minister on the second floor of New South, died in the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 near Addis Ababa. He was 32.

Cedric Asiavugwa (L'19)

Cedric Asiavugwa (L’19)

Cedric was on his way home to Nairobi, Kenya, following the death of his fiancée’s mother. 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.

Cedric was born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, and graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a B.A. in Philosophy, with highest honors. His commitment to issues of social justice, especially serving refugees and other marginalized groups, led him to Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania before coming to Georgetown. Among his many accomplishments, he helped found a community-based organization that addresses the protection of vulnerable women and children fleeing the war in Somalia, researched issues ranging from international conflicts to food security across East Africa, served as the Editor-in-Chief of the philosophy journal Chiedza, and directed a television series on peace and reconciliation.

Deeply committed to Catholic and Jesuit education, Cedric also spent eight years discerning a religious vocation as a Jesuit Scholastic. He was a beloved member of Georgetown’s Campus Ministry offices, tending to a group of first-year undergraduates for the last three years as a Residential Minister in the New South residence hall on the Hilltop and also interning in the Law Center’s Campus Ministry office. Consistently dedicated to the underprivileged in his home country, Cedric also served as the Assistant Director of Advancement for St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School, a free high school for orphans with HIV/AIDS in Nairobi.

Cedric’s deep commitment to social justice informed his many pursuits at the law school. A Blume Public Interest Law Scholar, a Global Law Scholar and a Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Scholar, Cedric was studying toward a joint J.D.-LL.M. degree in International Business and Economic Law. This semester, he was enrolled in the Center for Applied Legal Studies clinic, assisting refugee clients seeking asylum in the United States. Last year, he participated in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic. Cedric’s goal was to return to Kenya after his studies to pursue a career promoting the rights of refugees in East Africa and beyond.

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. 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. We hope you will keep his many loved ones here and abroad in your thoughts and prayers as we grieve his passing.

We realize how difficult this news is for members of our community. Georgetown University Campus Ministry is in touch with Cedric’s family and are offering any support we can provide at this difficult time.

To schedule an appointment with CAPS (Counseling and Psychiatric Services), students may call (202) 687-6985 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. In the event of an urgent need after hours, call (202) 444-7243 and ask for the CAPS clinician on call.

The Office of Campus Ministry is available to students during business hours by calling (202) 687-5259 (Main Campus). In addition, chaplains in residence may be reached after hours by calling (202) 677-0361. Georgetown Law Campus Ministry staff may be reached at this link:

The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) can provide free confidential counseling and referral services to faculty, AAPs and staff. For more information, visit or call (202) 687-2396.

We encourage students, faculty and staff to reach out to one another and be supportive of our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cedric’s family and friends.

With sadness,

William Treanor, Executive Vice President and Dean, Georgetown Law

Rev. Mark Bosco, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Georgetown University

In Remembrance

"Often, when I would visit the chaplain's office (which was a daily occurrence to snack on the candy in their candy bowl), Cedric would be sitting at the square table in the middle of the office, either working diligently or welcoming any students who were stopping-by. I knew that many students were happy to see him too. He was always so kind to me. He'd greet me with a big smile and a characteristic positive attitude, which was always a refreshing break from the typical stresses of the day. And then he'd ask me how my day was going, and genuinely listen to what I had to say. I didn't see him too frequently outside of the chaplain's office, but when I did, he would smile and wave hi. He was truly an incredible person, and it's rare to meet someone who's a terrific listener and maintains such a positive attitude."

— Dan Rosenberg, Georgetown Law (2L)

"Cedric was infectious; his smile, his demeanor, his warmth. He was one of the most inviting people I've met in a long time. I met Cedric when he was a first year student at the Law Center and immediately we became friends. Cedric had a very positive impact on me and, I'm sure, everyone he met. I take comfort in knowing Cedric was saved and pray comfort for you and his entire family. He'll be missed tremendously."

— Kim Kelly, Office Manager, Co-Worker

"A wonderful man with an infectious smile. His kindness and impact on the world has not and will not go unnoticed."

— Greg Berson, Fellow Student, Friend

"Cedric, I don't know you personally, but my heart is broken for what happened to you. You are such a brilliant person with a giant heart. Rest in peace. We will remember you."

— Boya Gou, Georgetown Law (2L)

"Cedric emanated joy. Every single time I had the pleasure of speaking with him, he uplifted me with his outlook and grace. I took great comfort in discussing refugee issues, career prospects, travels, and family life with him. He positively embodied what a life of service and kindness to others looks like, and I hope to carry a bit of him and his spirit in my own public interest service work. I saw him sitting and working, diligently as ever, in the Chaplains' office a couple of weeks ago, but of course I was rushing between things at the time and told myself I'd see him again soon, so I didn't stop in to say hello. How I regret that moment. How I regret not getting to know Cedric better, because he was such a rarity of a person - a beautiful soul who showed real tenderness to all. I know that Cedric will never be forgotten. My deep condolences and sincere prayers for all of his family and friends."

— Nikki Endsley, Fellow Georgetown Law Student (3L) and Blume Public Interest Scholar, Friend

"Cedric, you were one of the first friends I made at Georgetown. During 1L, when I faced some challenges with the transition to DC and law school, you helped me stay calm and have a more positive outlook on things. I loved being in your section (Section 2, Section Zoo!), working with you at OPICS, hanging out with you at Campus Ministry, and riding the GUTS shuttle with you to & from Main Campus. The legacy you left at Georgetown will be one that lasts for years to come. Take care, Cedric."

— Sunny Dharod, Georgetown Law Student (2L)

"In our last email exchange you asked me if I would be available to help translate for a French speaking person you were assisting with seeking asylum who didn't understand English. When we met the following day you told me you would get in touch with me once our schedules match. It is sad to know that you are no more. Rest in peace."

— Joelle, Student, Classmate

"Cedric taught me that everything will always work out if I do everything I can and leave the rest to the universe. I will bring this everywhere I go in the world."

— Salma Shitia, Georgetown Law Classmate

"I first met Cedric when I was an intern in a Catholic Organization in Nairobi, Kenya known as Jesuit Hakimani Centre, I can only describe him as one of the young brilliant brains of our lifetime, whose passion for social justice is unmatched. 'Your broad smile was infectious, you were an hospitable character, I can't believe you are gone bro..... May your soul rest in eternal peace.'"

— Meshach Kimanthi, Machakos University, Kenya

"I am saddened to learn of Cedric’s tragic death. My deepest condolences to his fiancee and family. Rest In Peace."

— Ata Akiner, Georgetown Law 4E

"Cedric was the first friend I made in law school. I met him before our first term of law school started, and I was fortunate to be in his first-year section, in a study group with him, and in small section torts class with him. We were also in the Public Interest Law Scholars program together. Though he had already received a full public interest scholarship from another organization, he joined the PILS program because he wanted to be a part of a public interest community on campus. Even before coming to school, he had already committed himself to a life of service to others, and to continuing his service even while in law school, which I can attest isn’t all that easy to do.

He was an extremely kind and unassuming person, and I admired his selflessness and his commitment to social justice. He participated in a tremendous amount of activities on and off campus, including serving on the Board of a nonprofit, working with Campus Ministries, and doing multiple clinics. For Cedric, bettering the world around him was just the way that he lived his life.

I struggle to put into words the loss for our community, his communities, his family, and the world. Since his death, I’ve revisited his incredible list of accomplishments, that are astonishing for anyone, much less for someone so young. More than once since I met him, I thought about how grateful I was to witness the amazing ripple he caused in the world.

I saw him on the Thursday before spring break, and we talked for a few minutes about our plans for the summer. We said that if we didn’t get the chance to get together this semester, then we would see each other this summer. I was always so glad to run into him on campus. His presence was a good reminder to me to try, always, to help others. I can’t totally wrap my head around the fact that I saw him on Thursday, but today he is gone."

— Arielle, Georgetown Law Classmate

"Cedric was funny, brilliant and humble. Having gotten to know him over the past three months in CALS, I still did not know about nearly half of his accomplishments because of his humility. Instead, he worked hard, contributed thoughtfully in CALS, and cracked the occasional joke that caused eruptive laughter. Cedric cared deeply about refugees and was an advocate for those who desperately needed one. I mourn not only for his family and my classmates, but for our CALS clients and everyone else he would have positively impacted if he had not been taken from the world so soon. Rest Easy, Friend."

— Lizz Crivaro, Georgetown Law 2L, CALS Clinic Colleague

"Cedric was an awesome law student. His whole life before he started law school was devoted to serving people in need, especially orphans and Somalian refugees. In our work together in the immigration law clinic at Georgetown, he threw himself into advocacy for a young man who was seeking asylum in the United States. He was an active and creative participant in the clinic’s seminar, regularly contributing suggestions to fellow students and thereby helping their clients to win asylum. He spoke to me often of his plan to complete an advanced law degree and then to return to Africa and use his legal training to assist refugees."

— Professor Philip Schrag, Georgetown Law Delaney Family Professor of Public Interest Law

"I met Cedric during orientation and was fortunate to be in Section 2 with him during that challenging first year of law school. He was such a bright and positive force in the world. Before class we would catch up on lighter interests we shared, like soccer and travel plans. I knew he was already more accomplished than I will ever be, but to me he was just a humble and friendly face who always made a stressful day better. His smile was soothing and infectious. He really was one of those exceptional people who always thinks of others and lives life the right way every day. It hurts my heart that such a beautiful soul has been taken so soon, but I am lucky to have known him, and to have seen such a model for a life well-lived."

— Brendan Sage, Georgetown Law 3L

"Cedric was an incredibly sweet and humble person. He exuded a quiet kindness that will be missed in all of the many places and ways that he contributed to the Georgetown campus and world. I am amazed and devastated to learn of all the activities in which Cedric was involved. I will miss seeing his warm smile at school, but the world has lost a true champion and advocate for social justice."

— Annie Flanagan, Georgetown Law Classmate and Fellow Blume Public Interest Law Scholar

"Cedric, I always remember you as my big brother with a big and warm smile and sincere interest in listening to others to sympathize and empathize with them even if you had your own difficulties and concerns in your life. When I had difficult moments, especially in my 1L year when I returned back to school after my military service on the front line, you were always next to me to talk with me and keep myself up by enabling me to have a perspective on what I was going through and reminding me of how lucky and thankful it was to be able to be where we were together to study law for the betterment of the common good through social justice.

I still vividly remember all the occasions we exchanged our thoughts on the role of law in protecting and enhancing the rights of the people in need, especially including those marginalized. Your relentless dedication to social justice through your participation in clinic programs, not just one but two, showed your sincerity toward the common good through your legal education and eventual practice. I believe you were the one who I could confidently say embraced the GULC's motto, "Law is but the means, justice is the end." And you will be remembered so forever. Please rest in peace, my friend and big brother."

— Junsuk Lee, Georgetown Law 3L and Global Law Scholar

"Cedric, I will remember you as a leading champion for women rights, your passion & dedication was evident. You did your work and you did it well! Thank you. Whenever we met along the hallways of Georgetown Law, you had a smile on your face, always. I thank you for the kind words & conversations you shared with your fellow Kenyans on life in D.C & Georgetown. You made it so much easier! Until we meet again, rest in peace."

— Prudence Mutiso, Georgetown Law Alum (LL.M. '18)

"Cedric was kind, funny, and encouraging. Over his three months at CALS, he never really talked about his many accomplishments. Instead, he supported and encouraged his fellow students and worked hard on his case. He added laughter and levity to even tense moments at the clinic. His positive energy always inspiring us! Although Cedric was taken from this world way too soon, he has left his mark on the many lives he touched around the world. Cedric, your legacy will live on and continue to inspire others. Rest in Peace."

— Kate Dowling, Georgetown Law 2L, CALS Clinic Colleague

I am in the midst of a thirty day silent retreat and so my remarks will be briefer than I would like. Having done the same retreat as a Jesuit novice I am sure that Cedric will understand.

Cedric was an extraordinarily warm and gifted colleague. He understood and lived the mission of our campus ministry office. He did not continue in the Jesuits, but he remained deeply formed by the spirituality of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius and he remained devoted to the Society of Jesus and its mission at Georgetown and elsewhere. As soon as he started working with us, I felt an immediate connection. I knew that he “got it” and that we were blessed to have him.

Having just heard a few minutes ago of his death, I am still struggling to wrap my mind around, not only the loss of his life, but of so many others. In spite of everything I am still convinced of the goodness of God. Cedric was too. I am certain that the Lord has prepared a place for him where the joy he showed us so often will be complete.

May he rest in peace, and may all of us who mourn him find hope, comfort and consolation.

— Father Paul Rourke S.J., Former Director, Law Center Campus Ministry

Derrick Anderson, Georgetown Law 3L

"Cedric and I first met in the Summer of 2016 at the GLS introduction. We had such divergent backgrounds but soon become great colleagues and friends. I just want to offer some of the memories and traits that I remember in Cedric. Always a smile. Always stopped to walk across the room to shake your hand or give a hug. Always willing to help and push his peers around him. Laughed and smiled even when your joke was not funny or you were arguing against his views. Always listened. He had a tenderness to how he viewed life and humanity. He always saw the good in people, never discounting ones view or opinion. Truly a great friend and colleague who will truly be missed."

— Derrick Anderson, Georgetown Law 3L

"Cedric, lucky for us, you wound up working in the Office of Public Interest & Community Service during your first year at Georgetown Law. I came to look forward to your bright smile and joyful greeting whenever our paths would cross. Thanks to your unique brand of warmth and humility, I had no idea how many lifetimes you’d already lived in terms of experience and impact until much later – and I’m still learning! Your premature departure from this realm will never make sense, so I’ll do my best to focus on celebrating the many ways in which you’ve positively impacted the Georgetown community and well beyond. Rest assured that so many people are committed to carrying on your legacy."

— Jen Tschirch, Associate Director of Pro Bono Programs

"I worked with Cedric in one course on investor-state arbitration. He was smiley all the time and was kind with all of his colleagues. His smile won't be forgotten. My condolences and thoughts will go to his family, fiance, and his friends. Rest In Piece, Cedric. Brother, May Allah have mercy on you."

— Abdulaziz Basharahil, Georgetown Law Student

"Cedric, it is hard for me to find the right words to say. I knew you as such a kind person with a sincere heart. With graduation coming up all I can think of is how you should be there with us and how proud your family must be of you. Since your passing I have been praying for you and your family daily. You have helped to make this world a better place and inspired us to do the same. I know you are at peace and in God's divine presence."

— Emely Toro, Georgetown Law 3L

Cedric knew good food. We shared lunch tables sometimes, with great conversation. Somehow, his food was always better than mine. I love that guy. Bless your family.

— Isaiah J. Jones

I only met Cedric a few months ago but was immediately struck by him. Working across the table from him in the Campus Ministry office was so grounding. All the stress I felt elsewhere on the law campus seemed to immediately disappear. I remember once when I was frustrated about something, Cedric responded simply “All will be well.” He is the only person I know who could and would respond like that. I would like to believe him. Thank you for everything you brought to us, Cedric. It was a joy to know you.

— Katie Rosenberg

Cedric, I miss your smiling face and wonderful presence around this campus. This is my first day in Campus Ministry without you. Send us your love and light, brother.

— A. Prince