The Biola University community is deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Hasiet Joy Negash, a communications studies major who passed away on Jan. 15 while on a student mission trip overseas.

Negash, from Des Moines, Wash., had been working with a team from Biola’s Student Missionary Union when she collapsed after complaining of asthma-related breathing difficulties. She was taken to a hospital, where doctors were unable to revive her.

“We mourn this tragedy as a community, and join together to grieve with all who loved her,” President Barry H. Corey said in an announcement to the university. “Joy was a young woman whose love for Jesus Christ was deep and abiding, evidenced by her desire to cross cultures and continents to see lives transformed by the gospel. We take comfort in the fact that she is with her Savior now.”

Negash had attended Biola since 2013, and was involved in several areas on campus, including Student Orientation Services, Multi-Ethnic Programs and Development, and admissions, where she served as a student ambassador. She was known for her passion to serve and love others abundantly.  

“Joy was a brilliant and delightful young woman,” said Paul Rood, lecturer of politics and economics. “In a reflection paper for one of my classes, she wrote how even the study of economics ‘helped my own understanding of the gospel and my Savior.’ She had a passionate interest and love for people from every nation. I recall an amazing presentation she gave on the government and society of modern India. I grieve for her family's loss and am very saddened that her life was cut short so suddenly in this distant land for which she had a passionate interest and burden.”

The Biola community is in prayer for Negash’s family, friends and loved ones, as well as the other seven members of her student missions team, which will be returning early. Counseling services will be available to students by contacting Student Development.

A public tribute to Negash will take place after students return to campus for the spring semester, which opens on Jan. 26.

UPDATE: January 27, 2015

A memorial service for Negash will be held on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 7 p.m. in the Chase Gymnasium. The service will be streamed live at 

Additional resources have been made available for students during this time of mourning.

UPDATE: February 5, 2015

In honor of Joy's legacy at Biola, a scholarship will be created. For those interested in honoring her life and legacy, please go to and select "other" under designation, and type in "Hasiet Joy Negash Scholarship." If you would like to send in a check, please make it payable to Biola University and write "Joy's scholarship" on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Biola University, University Development.

For more information, contact University Communications and Marketing at (562) 903-4727.