Section: News

Remembering former Kenyon student Katie Mazzolini

Remembering former Kenyon student Katie Mazzolini

Katie Mazzolini | COURTESY OF NICOLE KEMPTON MAZZOLINI

Kathryn “Katie” Mazzolini passed away suddenly Sept. 14. She was 22. 

According to a Sept. 15 message from Loyola Marymount University (LMU), where Katie attended beginning this semester, her death was presumed to be from a coronary aneurysm. 

Originally from Calabasas, Calif., Katie attended Kenyon between 2019 and 2021, where they studied political science and classics, before transferring to LMU. At Kenyon, they were involved in the Archon Society and ASHES and founded the College’s Sunrise Movement chapter — an environmental activism group still active on campus today — in January 2020. 

April Murphy ’22 was a friend of Katie’s. “Katie just had an amazing sense of humor,” Murphy said. “She was a very vibrant person”

Murphy shared that some of their most meaningful memories with Katie were attending protests together, in Columbus and around Ohio. “She spent a lot of time and energy devoted to social justice causes that wouldn’t have immediately affected her, which is something you don’t see a lot of at Kenyon,” they said.

Sunrise Kenyon shared in a message on their instagram page: “Without Katie’s enthusiasm and drive, Sunrise Kenyon would not exist today. Katie’s legacy will inspire us each and every day as we continue to advocate for our planet. We are so grateful for all that Katie has contributed to this organization and to our community as a whole.”

Besides on-campus activism, Katie contributed to causes they cared about by working as a Jails Intern at the ACLU of Southern California, on George Gascón’s Los Angeles District Attorney campaign as a campaign coordinator and as a partnership coordinator for Root & Rebound.

Katie was passionate about social issues and political activism, which Assistant Professor of Political Science Nancy Powers, Katie’s advisor her entire time at Kenyon,  said was evident inside the classroom and out. “She wanted to make a difference and so she kept finding ways, by the courses she took and the things she joined and took leadership in, and the internships she pursued, she kept finding ways in which she could contribute.”  

Powers further described Katie as a thoughtful and passionate student. “She asked good questions. She very often connected things between classes she was taking; she would say, ‘But last semester we studied this, and I wonder how it connects to that,’ and that’s just every professor’s dream, somebody who’s making connections, and she was really good at that,” Powers said. 

Zoë Kontes, NEH distinguished teaching professor of classics, who taught Katie in several classes, echoed Powers’ words. “Katie dedicated her time to causes she cared deeply about, and I admired her greatly for this. She had a wonderful laugh, a fabulous sense of style, and an exuberance in class undimmed by the constraints of pandemic learning.”

The Archon Society, which Katie was a part of while at Kenyon, shared in a Sept. 27 all-student email that they are organizing a fundraiser in collaboration with Katie’s family.  “They, and their bunny Poppy, were often a source of love and compassion on our campus, and they were a treasured member of many student communities, including the Archons.” The fundraiser invites donations to Mini Therapy Horses or the ACLU of Southern California in honor of Katie. 

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