Dartmouth pays tribute to Meleia Willis-Starbuck ‘07

Dartmouth students and others shared memories of Meleia Willis-Starbuck, a member of the Class of 2007, during a candlelight vigil held on the Dartmouth Green on Monday night (July 18). The Dartmouth flag was lowered to half-staff in her memory.

Meleia died early Sunday, July 17, at age 19 in her hometown of Berkeley, Calif., where she was serving as an intern for a women’s health and human services organization. She was the victim of a shooting near a dormitory at the University of California at Berkeley, police said. She died shortly afterward, of a single gunshot wound, authorities said. The shooting is under investigation by Berkeley police.

“We at Dartmouth College are deeply saddened by the death of Meleia Willis-Starbuck,” Dartmouth President James Wright said. “Her loss is a terrible tragedy that leaves our community shocked, saddened, and distressed. In just two years at Dartmouth, Meleia had already contributed so much to making the world a better place. Indeed, in the twenty full but short years of her life she had accomplished much. She was well known here and loved greatly, and we will miss her. Meleia and her friends and family are, of course, in our thoughts.”

Counseling is available to students and other members of the Dartmouth community through the College’s Counseling and Human Development Department. The College will be reaching out to Meleia’s classmates as well as those student groups in which she was a member.

Adouble major in sociology and African American studies, Meleia was active in the Dartmouth Afro-American Society, the Dartmouth Alliance for Children of Color and the Dartmouth College Greens. She was in Berkeley, her hometown, serving as an intern for the Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center where she helped to provide social and health services to low-income women.