University mourns the loss of Tolamariam Nemomsa

Dear Penn Community,

With heavy hearts, we write to share that Tolamariam Nemomsa ’24, a student in the College, passed away this week in his off-campus residence. He was 21.

From an early age, Tola, as he was known, was passionate about community health, specifically issues affecting his home state of Colorado. Committed to learning more about disparities in health care, he had the honor of being selected as a Pre-Health Scholar at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

While at Penn, Tola continued to pursue his passions in urban development and public health. He lived in Hill College House in 2018-19 and Du Bois College House in Fall 2019. Tola was deeply admired and loved by his peers at Makuu: The Black Cultural Center at Penn.

University staff are working closely to support Tola’s family and friends. A virtual support session will be held at 12:30 p.m. today, January 28, 2022.

Additionally, Student Counseling’s Let’s Talk program will have staff available for free and confidential drop-in conversations at Van Pelt Library Room 123 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Makuu staff will be available in the ARCH from 11a.m. to 4 p.m, today and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Makuu staff are available for support. Students can reach out to Brian Peterson at or call 215-573-0823.

Penn is a supportive community and we are here for each other through challenging situations. We know that grief can affect people in various ways. Now and always, Penn stands with you, and we want to comfort you.

Please use the resources below if you need support.

If you have a personal or academic concern and want to talk to someone at Penn:

  • Student Counseling (215-898-7021, 24/7): Any student can speak to a trained clinician by phone, day or night. Students also can schedule virtual appointments. Visit the Stress, Distress, and Crisis page for additional emotional health support.
  • The University Chaplain’s Office (215-898-8456) provides pastoral support, informal advising, and counseling to students in need of care and comfort. Chaplain’s Office staff are here “to be a shoulder, to be an ear, to be a friend, to be a fellow sojourner, to be an advocate, and a faithful presence.” The Chaplain’s Office works with faith communities and campus ministers who also provide spiritual support. Students of all faiths are warmly welcomed.


School advising offices

  • College of Arts and Sciences: 215-898-6341
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science: 215-898-7246
  • School of Nursing: 215-898-6687
  • Wharton Undergraduate Division: 215-898-7613

Other faculty or staff you know and trust.


If you don’t feel well:

  • Student Health (215-746-3535) offers comprehensive primary care, including services to help you eat well, sleep well, and reduce stress. Students must call first to speak to SHS staff, who can determine whether to schedule a virtual or in-person appointment.


If you aren’t sure where to go or you’re concerned about a friend:

  • Student Intervention Services ( supports students in crises, helps students access resources, and responds to concerns about students’ well-being.
  • The Division of Public Safety’s HELP line (215-898-HELP/215-898-4357) is a 24/7 service that connects Penn students, staff, faculty, and families with appropriate resources.