Carnegie Mellon University
March 28, 2011

News Brief: Student Tragedy

Carnegie Mellon Dean of Student Affairs Gina Casalegno sent the following update to the university community on Monday, March 28, regarding the tragic death of senior Jee-Hoon Choi. The senior art student died in a car accident on Friday, March 25. Following this update is the initial announcement sent by Casalegno last Friday.

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

I am writing to follow up on Friday's communication about the tragic accident that took the life of senior Jee-Hoon Choi and hospitalized fellow student, Valerie Corvino, a senior in Business Administration.

Valerie's family has shared with us that following surgery she is receiving care in the intensive care unit and is showing signs of improvement. Each of the other students traveling to Florida with Jee and Valerie will be back to campus by later this evening. I know the campus community joins me in wishing Valerie a full recovery. Our thoughts and best wishes are with all who were involved.

Students have been active in coordinating an opportunity for the community to gather this evening to recognize the loss of a vibrant, beloved member of the campus community and to celebrate and honor Jee's life.

All members of the campus community are invited to gather tonight at 11:30 p.m. to paint The Fence and hold a candlelight vigil in Jee's honor.  Community members will also be invited to express their thoughts and prayers for Valerie and her family.

For more information about the event, please visit the Facebook group Come Paint the Fence in Memory of Jee Choi.

I have been in communication with Jee's family, and as of this afternoon funeral arrangements are not yet finalized.  The Choi family has requested that students closest to Jee be notified of arrangements once they are confirmed. We anticipate hosting a memorial service in the coming weeks that will provide an opportunity for the broader community to gather together and formally recognize Jee's impact at CMU. In keeping with the family's wishes, please feel free to communicate with me directly should you have any questions about the funeral arrangements.

The compassion, genuine care and concern expressed by students, staff, and faculty have been humbling to witness over the past several days and are a testament to the strength of our community. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with me personally and of course with the Counseling and Psychological Services staff at 412-268-2922 so we may continue to provide support to those impacted by this tragic event.


Gina Casalegno
Dean of Student Affairs


Friday, March 25:

Dear Members of the Campus Community:

It is with great sadness that I write to confirm that Jee-Hoon Choi, a senior in the School of Art, died in a car accident earlier this morning while traveling in Florida. Jee-Hoon is survived by his parents, Bo-Kyung Woo and Sung-Ho Choi, and brother Jee-Hwan.
Jee was a socially-aware young artist, capable of producing provocative work with a bold spirit and a ready sense of humor. Popular with his peers, faculty and staff, Jee was a lively presence in the School of Art.
I know our community of faculty, staff and students will provide important support to one another and those impacted by Jee’s passing during this difficult time of loss. Counseling and Psychological Services therapists are also available and can be reached 24 hours a day at 412-268-2922.

Nine additional Carnegie Mellon students were traveling with Jee, including five others in the same vehicle who are receiving appropriate care in Florida. Two student affairs staff members have gone to Florida to support our students and family members there, while others are available and providing support to friends in Pittsburgh.
Consistent with the family's wishes we will communicate information about memorial plans as they become available. I know that each of you joins me in extending your thoughts and prayers to Jee’s family and friends.  
Gina Casalegno
Dean of Student Affairs

Internal Communications