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Tulane Student Who Spent Semester at Harvard Dies

Amy C. McClendon, 19, died on Sunday; funeral will be held Thursday in Louisiana

By Evan H. Jacobs and William C. Marra, Crimson Staff Writerss

Amy C. McClendon, a 19-year old rising sophomore at Tulane University in New Orleans who was a visiting student at Harvard last semester, died on Sunday. The cause of death could not immediately be confirmed.

McClendon, a resident of Amite, La., attended Harvard after Hurricane Katrina forced Tulane to shut down for a semester last fall. She died at 1:26 p.m. at Louisiana Heart Hospital in Lacombe, La., according to the website of McKneely Funeral Home, which is charge of arrangements for the funeral.

"Even though she was only here for a short time, she made many Harvard friends, several of whom are going to New Orleans for her funeral," Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross '71 wrote in an e-mail Tuesday night.

Tulane's Vice President of Student Affairs Cynthia Cherrey released the following statement Wednesday morning: "We are deeply saddened by the death of our student Amy McClendon. Our thoughts and prayers are with Amy's family and friends, whom we have contacted to offer our support during this difficult time. Amy was a wonderful person and an excellent student. She will be sadly missed."

In the fall, McClendon was a leader in students’ efforts to convince Harvard to reverse its stated policy and allow visiting Tulane students to remain at Harvard.

“I want to stay at Harvard because all of my friends are here. I don’t know anybody at Tulane besides the other visiting students I’ve met here,” she told The Crimson last November.

“My parents want me to go back to Louisiana,” she said at the time. “My dad feels like if I don’t go back I’m letting down the state in a time of need. My mom says, ‘Do what you think is right.’ I want to keep my options open.”

The University ultimately did not allow any of the visiting students to remain at Harvard after the fall semester, but said the students could apply for a transfer in the coming fall.

McClendon was full of optimism when asked about the challenge of leaving her native New Orleans in the wake of Katrina.

“As difficult as this situation has been, there have been a few positive things that came out of it—one of those being that I could focus just about anywhere,” she said last December. “It’s just a matter of adjusting.”

Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wendesday and 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at McKneely, according to the funeral home’s website. The funeral service will occur at 5 p.m. on Thursday at St. Helena Catholic Church in Amite.

—Staff writer Evan H. Jacobs can be reached at ehjacobs@fas.harvard.edu.
—Staff writer William C. Marra can be reached at wmarra@fas.harvard.edu.

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