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UPDATED: Statement regarding the death of Tuskegee student Nyra Shaw-Hemphill

October 04, 2019

Oct. 9 Update: The Shaw-Hemphill family has announced that services for Nyra have been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12 at Lincoln Heights Missionary Baptist Church, 9991 Wayne Ave.  in Cincinnati. Visitation is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the service beginning at 1 p.m. In addition, a discounted hotel rate is being provided for out-of-town guests by the Hampton Inn & Suites at 2000 Ronald Reagan Drive in Cincinnati.

Dear Tuskegee Family:

I am saddened to announce the passing of Nyra Shaw-Hemphill yesterday evening. Nyra, a sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio, majoring in animal, poultry and veterinary science, collapsed on campus, and paramedics immediately responded to the emergency call and transported her to East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Abena Myers-Taylor, Chief of Staff Dr. Shirley A. Friar and I have spoken with several members of Nyra’s family to personally offer the university’s condolences. In addition, counselors from the university’s Wellness Center have been and will remain in contact with Nyra’s roommates and other residents of the North Commons Apartments where she resided.

It is important for students to recognize the signs of grief and to seek counseling help in response to those symptoms. The university’s Wellness Center staff counselors, Ardelia Lunn and Warrena Millon, remain available throughout the week as well as this weekend to anyone needing counseling or grief support. Individual and group counseling sessions can be scheduled by contacting the Wellness Center at 727-8244. Visit for additional information about the center’s services.

In addition, the staff of the University Chapel is available to students seeking spiritual guidance and support. To arrange such services, visit the Chapel Office at the ground level of the Chapel, or contact Dawn Calhoun at 727-8322 or Dean Gregory Gray at 727-8702.

Students may also utilize the around-the-clock emotional support and mental health programs available through our insurance program with UnitedHealthcare. Learn more about this personalized and confidential service provided by licensed therapists and counselors at

I invite the entire campus community, no matter where you are at noon today, to observe a moment of silence in Nyra’s memory. A similar moment of silence in her memory will be observed during this Sunday’s All-University Worship Service, which begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Chapel. On Wednesday, Oct. 9, at noon, the Chapel staff will host a memorial service in her honor.

We will announce funeral arrangements when they have been provided by Nyra’s family. In the meantime, and in the days and weeks that follow, I ask you to please continue to keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.


Lily D. McNair, Ph.D.