Speeches & Commentary

Sad news to share

Dear Danforth Campus faculty and staff,

With great sadness, we’re writing to inform you of the death of one of our students. Sophomore Orli Sheffey died by suicide in her residence hall room on Friday. Please see below the message that Vice Chancellor Anna Gonzalez sent to students a short time ago.

We have offered Orli’s family our full support and are also reaching out to her close friends and classmates to make sure they have access to the resources they need. We know this news is difficult to process, regardless of whether you had a personal connection to Orli. If you should need support, please consider utilizing our employee assistance program, Work-Life Solutions, which provides 24/7 counseling and referral services.

Our community is strong, but heartbreaking events like this are certainly a test of our resilience. We know we will get through this – together, as always – and grow stronger in the process. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Orli’s family and all who are affected by this tragedy.


Andrew D. Martin

Shantay N. Bolton
Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Administrative Officer

Beverly Wendland
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Dear Students,

I’m deeply saddened to have to share with you the heartbreaking news that one of your fellow students has died. Sophomore Orli Sheffey died by suicide on Friday in her on-campus residence. I know this will come as a shock to many of you, particularly those of you who knew Orli. We are offering our full support to her family and many friends here at WashU as they process this devastating news.

I want to express my deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Orli, and also acknowledge that this news will be very unsettling to many of our students, whether or not you had a personal connection to her. Please reach out for support if you need it. The following resources are available to you. 

We want to fully support you during this difficult time. Please take time to take care of yourself and each other. We will be hosting an informal vigil to remember Orli at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Monday, February 14, on the lawn outside the Women’s Building. This is a time for our community to come together to honor her life. The Women’s Building Formal Lounge and Graham Chapel will be open for people who want to gather afterwards. All are welcome to attend.

Please know that we share in your grief and sadness. Orli was a special person and this is a tremendous loss for our community. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can offer any support.


Anna “Dr. G” Gonzalez
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs