Osagie family establishes scholarship in memory of Osaze Osagie

April 03, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The family of Osaze Osagie is establishing the Osaze Osagie Memorial Scholarship for Educational Equity at Penn State to honor his life by providing support to Penn State students with mental health challenges and other disabilities.

Osagie died on March 20 in an officer-involved shooting when State College Police were responding to a mental health warrant. An independent investigation into the incident by the Pennsylvania State Police is currently under way at the request of the State College Police Department. 

“While our grief does not compare to the sense of sadness the Osagie family is bearing right now, the entire community has been shaken by this tragic loss of a member of our Penn State family,” said President Eric Barron. “We know that there is great sorrow and many questions in our community regarding Osaze’s untimely passing. We are grateful to the Osagie family for choosing to celebrate the life of their son and brother in a way that will have a lasting impact on Penn State and our future students.”

A former Penn State student who was 29 years old at the time of his death, Osagie was the son of Sylvester and Iyunolu Osagie, longtime members of the Penn State faculty. Sylvester Osagie is director of Water-Energy-Food Systems and Faculty Fulbright Program adviser for Penn State Global Programs. Iyunolu Osagie is an emeritus professor in the Department of English and the African Studies Program at Penn State. She is also professor of English at Oregon State University.

 “Osaze was a man of peace. Despite his health challenges, he deeply cared for others and wanted the best for them. His love was unconditional under all circumstances,” said the Osagies. “He also loved Penn State and was an avid Penn State football fan. Given the experiences of Osaze’s life and the circumstances surrounding his death, we are very much interested in a scholarship fund that symbolizes peace, reconciliation and the need to care for the vulnerable in our society.”

Housed in the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, the Osagie Scholarship will provide financial resources for Penn State students with intellectual and mental health diagnoses so they can have quality-of-life experiences while at the University, including up-to-date support academically, emotionally and socially. The family’s hope is that in the future there will be additional opportunities to support educational programs at the University for training law enforcement in handling interactions with individuals experiencing mental health crises. 

“All of us at Penn State are grieving this tragic loss of a young life, and we share our deepest sympathies with Sylvester and Iyunolu and their children, longstanding members of our Penn State family who are dealing with a profound and personal heartbreak,” said Marcus Whitehurst, vice provost for Educational Equity. “Even during this extremely difficult time, they are focusing on finding a way to honor the memory of Osaze by providing support to Penn State students in his name.”

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Osaze Osagie Memorial Scholarship, visit raise.psu.edu/OsazeOsagieMemorialScholarship. Contributions can also be made by mail to University Development, 2601 Gateway Drive, Suite 150, State College, PA 16801.

For anyone in the University community -- faculty, staff or students -- who may be in need of assistance or support, Penn State offers the following resources:

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are available at all Penn State campuses.
  • The Penn State Crisis Line (1-877-229-6400) is a 24/7 toll-free service staffed by licensed professionals available to all Penn Staters.
  • Community members can text the 24/7 Crisis Text Line by texting “LIONS” to 741741.
  • The Penn State Employee Assistance Program, through HealthAdvocate, offers short-term counseling from licensed EAP professionals, by phone, email or in person to help employees better cope with personal, family and work issues. These sessions are completely confidential. You can call the toll-free number at 866-799-2728 anytime, seven days a week.
  • When an extreme “Critical Incident” occurs that you feel requires immediate on-site assistance, supervisors should call the toll-free number directly; or, contact their HR Strategic Partner for assistance.
Last Updated April 24, 2019