ITHACA, N.Y.—Cornell University sophomore Lisa Ngunda passed away over the weekend of March 12.

Ngunda, who born in Tanzania and moved with her family to Massachusetts as a child, was passionate about health and medicine, and was a student in the College of Human Ecology, according to a statement from Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi.

A GoFundMe has been started by Benjamin Mbwambo to help cover funeral costs. The fundraiser’s legitimacy has been verified by GoFundMe officials.

According to Mbwambo’s GoFundMe post, Ngunda had been working late into the night on a group project with classmates before they decided to go to sleep and resume their work in the morning. When her classmates knocked on the door and got no response they contacted a school administrator, who opened the door and found Ngunda on her bed. Medical professionals on the scene determined that she had already passed.

Her interest in medicine led her to volunteer at UMass Memorial HealthAlliance Hospital, and she had been working toward a career as a physician and neurosurgeon. Ngunda was also a member of several on-campus organizations including the Nigerian Students Association, Caribbean Students’ Association, Advent Christian Fellowship and Pre-Professional Association Toward Careers in Health, among others.

“On behalf of Cornell, I extend my sincere condolences to Lisa’s family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts as we all struggle to process this loss,” Lombardi’s statement said.

A support meeting will be held at 5 p.m. March 15 in the music room in Willard Straight Hall, and a College of Human Ecology-specific support meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. March 17 in Room 162 of Goldwin Smith Hall.

Correction: This article previously stated that Mbwambo is Ngunda’s father, but he is not.

Zoë Freer-Hessler is the digital editor/reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Joining in November 2021, she has covered a wide range of topics related to local news. She can be reached at,...