Stanford University has confirmed that a Kenyan undergraduate student at the university died in her dormitory room last Friday.
Norah Jelagat Borus sat her KCSE exam in 2013 at Precious Blood Secondary School, Riruta, and later joined the Northern-California based Stanford University where she majored in computer science. According to the university, Norah explored interests in artificial intelligence and machine learning. She pursued both bachelor’s and master’s degrees as a co-term student.
An email sent to the Stanford University community by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole read as follows:
We are writing with an update on the student death that occurred Friday afternoon. After consultation with her family, we can now share that Norah Borus, 24, passed away in her dormitory room on June 14. The cause of death will be determined by the Santa Clara County Office of the Medical Examiner-Coroner. The police have told us there is no ongoing safety threat to the campus community.
An international student from Nairobi, Kenya, Norah was a beloved member of the Stanford community and was engaged in many parts of campus life. She majored in computer science, where she explored interests in artificial intelligence and machine learning. She pursued both bachelor’s and master’s degrees as a co-term student, and returned to Kenya during breaks to serve as a mentor. In 2016, as the Haas Center for Public Service’s Alexander Tung Memorial Fellow, Norah ran a nine-week coding camp with 20 young adult participants in Nairobi. She was active with Stanford’s Center for African Studies. As a gifted vocalist, Norah chose this year to live in a student residence for those interested in the arts and performing arts.
To say that she will be greatly missed cannot begin to capture the sense of loss experienced by her family, friends and loved ones. We will continue to do all we can as a university and community to support her family through this difficult time. We wish to remind students, faculty and staff that nearly all services available during the academic year remain open during the summer. Please reach out to these resources, and to family, friends, loved ones, clergy members, and any others in your circle of care.
Commencement included a moment of silence in honor of all the students we lost this year. Like Norah, each one was a vibrant and engaged community member. In these moments, we are reminded of the fragility of life and the inextricable bonds that hold us as one Stanford community. Losing one member, whether they were known to us or not, impacts us all.
In the days to come, we invite you to draw nearer to those in our campus community even while apart. While many of you are no longer on campus, the ties that bind you can still connect you. Reach out to offer support and ask for it when you need it. Take time to send notes of appreciation, whether texts or tweets or old-school thank yous. In times like these, we all need reminders of how much we are valued and loved by our community. We know there is much to do, but we can only do it together.
We on campus will be available to all of you throughout the summer and into the fall. The significance of our on-going conversation about supporting student health and well-being has never been greater. You have our commitment, along with that of fellow university leaders, to engage fully in these critical issues and needs.