Muhammed Hansrod, a religious studies major at Kenyon, died on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 in his hometown of Isipingo, South Africa. He was 25 years old.
Jon Funder, a close friend of Hansrod, announced his death on Facebook on behalf of his family on Feb. 10. Funder included a message from Hansrod’s mother, Ayesha Hansrod.
“To all his friends, colleagues and acquaintances, thank you for the wonderful experiences my son enjoyed and narrated to us. A life cut short. May his soul rest in peace,” she said.
According to Patrick Gilligan, retired director of counseling services, Hansrod had a unique ability to engage deeply with everyone in his life.
“I think that is one of the most incredible things about him — no matter how much he was struggling in his life, he was always thinking about other people and how he could help them in their struggles,” Gilligan said.
Hansrod’s connection to Kenyon goes back to his junior year in high school, when he lived with Taylor Johnson ’83 as a part of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (Y.E.S.) program.
He was also a recipient of the Andrew D. Pochter Memorial International Studies Fund.
Muhammed left the College in May of 2018 with hopes of returning to complete his degree before finding a job in the United States. As recently as January, Hansrod was raising funds to complete his remaining credits.
Royal Rhodes, Donald L. Rogan professor emeritus of religious studies, who was close with Hansrod while he was at Kenyon, stressed the importance of recognizing the responsibilities that come with losing someone.
“With the loss of anyone we loved it takes a toll and … being aware of that and not just saying that we have found ‘closure’ — I hate that word,” Rhodes said. “Nobody ever has closure, but I think that they mean that, whatever the loss or the tragedy, we have an obligation to life.”