Local News

NC State creates scholarship fund in honor of Chapel Hill shooting victims

Posted February 20, 2015

Deah Shaddy Barakat, left, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha

— North Carolina State University has established a scholarship fund in honor of three Muslim students fatally shot in Chapel Hill last week. 

Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found dead on Feb. 10 at the newlywed couple's home. A neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

Police said the shootings appear to be the result of a long-running dispute over parking spaces at the condominium complex where Hicks and the victims lived, but relatives of the victims have called for an investigation of their deaths as a hate crime.

Barakat graduated with honors from N.C. State in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He was attending dentistry school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His wife graduated from N.C. State last fall with a bachelor’s in biological sciences. She had recently been accepted into the UNC dentistry program. Razan Abu-Salha was a sophomore in N.C. State's College of Design, majoring in architecture.

The "Our Three Winners" scholarship endowment will provide annual support to students in N.C. State's Poole College of Management, College of Sciences and College of Design, the university announced Friday. 

The university is contributing funds to launch the program and is seeking donations from alumni and the community. 

"Deah, Yusor and Razan exemplified the best of N.C. State and will forever serve as role models for our student body," Chancellor Randy Woodson said Friday. "Each was not only an outstanding student, but individually and as a family lived their lives bringing joy to others, helping those in need and making the world a better place."

Scholarship recipients will be selected based on their demonstration of leadership, service and creativity.

"This is the first blessing and the first happy day after the tragedy, and it means a lot to us," said the sisters' father, Mohammad Abu-Salha. "Nothing is more awesome than supporting scholars on an annual basis to come here and study if they couldn't afford it and just exemplify the same things that these children lived."

"Out of this horrendous tragedy, these incredible scholarships will continue to provide education for so many people for so much time to come," said Barakat's sister, Suzanne Barakat. "You have made his dream come true."

Woodson cited the "tremendous difference" the students made in the community and across the globe. The three raised money to help Syrian refugees in Turkey, were helping build an Interfaith Habitat for Humanity home in Wake County and, just a week prior to their deaths, helped feed the homeless in downtown Durham. 

Gifts to the “Our Three Winners” Scholarship Fund can be made through the university's website.


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  • Kaitlyn Legare Feb 23, 2015
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    I don't think there's any university that has a policy to automatically set up a scholarship for their students who were murdered. It probably has a lot to do with the wishes of the families, and backing from university organizations like fraternities/sororities, athletics, academic departments and other programs the student was tied to.

    The ones I know about locally--Eve Carson, Faith Hedgepeth, Ira Yarmolenko and Deah, Yusor and Razan--all have scholarships named for them. They all come from diverse backgrounds. Eve was a Caucasian from Athens Ga, Faith was a Native American from NC, Ira was from the Ukraine, and Deah, Yusor and Razan were all Arab Muslim. No one raised a howl about any of the scholarships until one was set up for the three Muslim students. Can someone explain that to me?

  • Wayne R. Douglas Feb 23, 2015
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    How many....My bad. I made a typo.

  • Wayne R. Douglas Feb 23, 2015
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    How man other UNC or NC State students have been murdered? How many of those students, have now a scholarship, in their name? I am not being snide. I honestly do not know the answer. I am however, interested to find out if all other murdered students, are receiving the same attention and honor, as are these 3 students.

  • Kaitlyn Legare Feb 22, 2015
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    "Is NC State creating a scholarship fund for the Iraqi Christians beheaded by ISIS?
    Why not?"

    Why not? Probably because those Christian victims who were massacred by ISIS had no connection whatsoever to NCSU, unlike the 3 victims of the Chapel Hill shooting. Same reason why no other US university that I know of, including Christian universities, have set up scholarships for them.

    BTW, it seems like if you gave a rat about any of those Christian victims yourself you'd at least know they were Egyptian Copts and not Iraqis.

  • Phil Larson Feb 20, 2015
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    It says nothing about the scholarships being created because they were Muslim. It says:
    "Deah, Yusor and Razan exemplified the best of N.C. State and will forever serve as role models for our student body," Chancellor Randy Woodson said Friday. "Each was not only an outstanding student, but individually and as a family lived their lives bringing joy to others, helping those in need and making the world a better place."

  • George Costanza Feb 20, 2015
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    And not ONE of them was started because of their religion. Somehow because these were Muslims, a scholarship had to be made.

  • Kristin Byrne Feb 20, 2015
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    UNC has a scholarship honoring Faith Hedgepeth.

  • Phil Wardlow Feb 20, 2015
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    Peter Panda, why don't you start a scholarship fund?

  • John McCray Feb 20, 2015
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    Thanks Kaitlyn and Dan!

  • Dan Homiller Feb 20, 2015
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    That's some pretty weak trolling, Peter Panda. A few of the scholarships at NC State:

    FYC Deryle Daniels Memorial Scholarship
    AT Anderson Memorial Scholarship
    Bess B. and Lynton Y. Ballentine Scholarship
    Linda P. Brady Scholarship
    Nathaniel C. and Blanche P. Browder Scholarship
    Jenny Cheng Scholarship
    William S. and Lesa C. Edwards Scholarship Frances W. and Gerald O. T. Erdahl Memorial Scholarship William G. Franklin Scholarship Daniel C. Gunter, Jr. Scholarship Jean F. Kilgore Scholarship William T. Kretzer Family Scholarship Kara Ruth Medlin Memorial Scholarship Carol Johnson Poole Scholarship Dr. Reginald Ponder Scholarship The Remmey Family Scholarship Perry and Susan Safran Scholarship Brandon Lee Sova Memorial Scholarship Zuiches Family/General H. Hugh Shelton Scholarship