INI Establishes Fellowship for Rwandan Alumnus-Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda - Carnegie Mellon University

INI Establishes Fellowship in Memory of Rwandan Alumnus

Carnegie Mellon University  recently lost a strong member of the alumni community. Innocent Habiyaremye, born April 30, 1980, passed away suddenly from a pulmonary embolism on June 20, 2012. His unexpected death has evoked an outpour of testimonials to his kindness from people in both Rwanda and the United States whose lives he touched. He was laid to rest in his hometown of Kigali, Rwanda at a service among family and friends.

Innocent Habiyaremye was well known as a friend, student leader, volunteer, teacher and consultant. Innocent grew up in Kigali, Rwanda, where he earned a bachelor of science from Kigali Institute of Science and Technology and was among the handful of eager students whom Carnegie Mellon recruited from Rwanda. Moving to the United States in 2008; he pursued the INI's Pittsburgh-Silicon Valley Master of Science in Information Technology-Information Security program that allowed him to split time between CMU’s main campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and CMU’s Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, California. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon in May 2010.

Throughout his life, Innocent was an active volunteer; for student organizations, for local children as a teacher and tutor, for ‘Habitat for Humanity’ and for several other community groups. He was a volunteer member of the INI Alumni Leadership Council, to which he dedicated time to meet with other alumni and advise the INI administration. He was known fondly by many, and it has been said he "always had a smile."

Several of his classmates had made lasting friendships with him and had kept in touch. He remained involved with the university across several channels, exemplifying how to be "active" among alumni. Notably, he had imparted something historical and cultural to people in the audience at the fifteenth anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide, an event that Innocent and his classmates had organized in Silicon Valley. Normally soft-spoken, Innocent spoke powerfully and memorably at that event.

Importantly, Innocent dedicated his efforts and resources to a variety of organizations, with Carnegie Mellon being just one example. He was a tutor and a choir member. He read to children and worked on teams to build houses. In New Jersey he supported Jersey Cares and Rotaract. Despite having to take up residence in several locales throughout his short adult life, Innocent applied himself to serve his community, wherever he was living at the time. He was a lifelong volunteer.

Since his passing, it has become clear that Innocent made an impact on the lives of many at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh as well as Silicon Valley. In reaction to his early death, the Information Networking Institute (INI) is establishing a new fund in Innocent's name. Carnegie Mellon University is pleased to say that the Innocent Habiyaremye Fellowship is being created and will be awarded at the INI diploma ceremony to a student who embodies a sense of community spirit in his or her everyday actions.
The goal of the INI is to establish the fellowship as an endowed fund that can be awarded year after year. To establish the fund, the INI must collect at least $10,000 by December 31, 2016. Donors may visit and specify the Innocent Habiyaremye memorial fellowship endowment on the submission form. As part of Carnegie Mellon's endowment, contributions provide a permanent source of income to the university. These funds are invested for long-term growth, and a percentage of the earnings is withdrawn, year after year, and distributed to the fellowship.

Members of the Carnegie Mellon University community will remember Innocent fondly, and there are others who share this sentiment. It was a privilege to be able to know this young man.