COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Thousands turned their tassels to the left Saturday morning at Colonial Life Arena as the University of South Carolina Class of 2019 graduated.
Less than two months ago, 21-year-old Samantha Josephson lost her life after police say she got into a car she thought was her Uber, and was later killed.
It’s a tragedy that shook the entire Gamecock community. On Saturday, she was supposed to graduate from college.
The family of Samantha Josephson was in attendance for the processional Saturday morning, and received her posthumous bachelor of science degree.
University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides honored her in a speech near the end of the graduation ceremony.
“I’d like to take a moment to recognize and honor the life and the legacy of Samantha Josephson. Our cherished 21 year old senior political science major whose life was taken tragically from us,” Pastides said. “Samantha’s family is here with us today, and she’ll receive her college degree posthumously directly after this ceremony.”
A seat was also reserved in the first row draped in regalia in memory of Samantha and other students in the Carolina family who were tragically lost this past year.
“It’s definitely very hard to not see her be there with the other thousands of graduates she should be there," Daniela Jaimes, Josephson’s college Spanish instructor said. "Her spot is there.”
Jaimes taught Josephson for two semesters.
“She always had a very bright smile. She lit up a room when she came in,” Jaimes said.
Josephson had dreams of attending law school, and asked Jaimes for a letter of recommendation.
During our interview with Jaimes, she shares with us a recorded conversation from an old Spanish exam.
“Hearing her voice I cried. Hearing her voice was very just emotional.” Jaimes said.
“Fellow Gamecocks, class of 2019, we must ensure what happened to Samantha never happens again to any college student or indeed to any person,” Pastides said. “Asking ‘what’s my name?’ before getting in a ride share vehicle will save lives.”