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A passion for life

The Duke community suffered a tragic loss with the passing of Jessica Caroe, a rising second-year MBA student at the Fuqua School of Business.

With Caroe’s death, the University has lost a charismatic student, praised by her peers not only for her intelligence, but also for her fierce commitment to Fuqua and its students.

As the co-founder of the Fuqua Education club and a member of the Net Impact and consulting clubs, Jessica demonstrated her dedication to the betterment of the Fuqua community. Her commitment to education extended beyond the realm of Fuqua—she also participated in Teach for America and YES Prep Public Schools in Houston. Her classmates remember her as someone constantly devoted to helping others.

Jessica was truly a multitalented individual. Apart from her academic prowess—she received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown where she graduated magna cum laude —Jessica excelled in athletics, earning national gymnastics titles in her early teen years.

Beyond her academic and athletic pursuits, Jessica’s passion played out in all facets of her life. In her spare time, Jessica found joy as a loving pet owner, piano teacher, an avid coffee drinker and a foodie.

Even with her various interests and commitments, Jessica never lost sight of her priorities—her character cannot be understood without including her personal relationships. Jessica was admired as a teammate, loved as an older sibling to seven brothers and sisters, and respected by those many years older than her. All of Jessica’s relationships were defined by her intense passion for serving others.

Her untimely death came days before that of Yale senior Marina Keegan, who passed away soon after publishing a column about the endless opportunities the future presents. Jessica and her fiance Robert Storrs, who also passed away in the accident, had become engaged the night before. Both of these tragedies are sobering reminders that life can be taken away at any moment, without warning.

Nevertheless, even through this time of mourning, we should spend this time celebrating the life that Jessica has lived—one that was replete with success, love and happiness. She—along with her fiance and Marina—has demonstrated her passion to live life to the fullest, whether it is in the kindness she shows professors and students on campus or through her unwavering commitment to community service. She epitomizes the ideals and values that each one of us, as members of the Duke community, strive for. Both Jessica and Marina achieved much in their short lives, and it is saddening to think of what more they could have accomplished.

But reflecting on Jessica’s life makes us thankful for all she contributed to those around her and challenges us to do more and be more. Jessica tirelessly pursued her own success, but also made time to better the lives of those around her. It is easy to become caught up in what we think we should do, or what seems more logistically sound. Jessica had a lifetime of achievements packed into her short life. Constantly presented with endless opportunities at Duke, it would be terribly risky to get caught up in what we think we should be doing without taking the chance to pursue what truly makes us who we are.

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