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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University February 14, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 22
More Grief as Hopkins Mourns Death of Another Student

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The Johns Hopkins community has recently had to endure another painful loss as sophomore Dominic Ferrara was found dead Feb. 7 in his Wolman Hall residence at the Homewood campus. Baltimore police have told university officials there was no evidence of homicide.

The death occurred just two weeks after senior engineering student Linda Trinh was killed in her off-campus apartment.

Ferrara, a dean's list student in the School of Arts and Sciences, was an undeclared major who was following a physics track. Faculty remembered Ferrara as an intelligent, serious and inquisitive student.

"We are, of course, shocked and saddened by the whole turn of events," said Collin Broholm, a professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department who taught Ferrara in his freshman year. "He was a bright and promising young student of physics. He was doing very well, and we were really happy to hear that he planned on coming back to take more courses [in the department]."

A memorial service for Ferrara will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, in the university's Interfaith Center. A funeral mass took place on Feb. 12 at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in his hometown of Doylestown, Pa.

In a letter to students, staff and faculty, President William R. Brody told the university community of the grievous period Johns Hopkins is currently going through.

"We do not know precisely what led to this terrible occurrence. We do know, however, that it pains us deeply," Brody said. "At a time when we already stand in mourning for one life taken far too soon, we are asked somehow to cope with the loss of another. It is incomprehensible. It seems too much to bear. And yet somehow we must find the strength to bear it. I firmly believe that such strength comes not only from within ourselves but also from within our community. We must stand together, console each other, support each other and, most importantly, look out for each other."

Last Thursday and Friday the Homewood deans and President Brody set time aside to meet with students at various public locations throughout the campus. The university's leaders said that they wanted to make themselves directly available to those who might want to talk about issues of loss, grief, security or whatever else was on their mind.

In his letter, Brody stressed the need "to help ourselves and others in times of distress."

"The most important thing to remember, whether you are concerned about yourself or about someone else, is this: You are not alone. Get help. It's not in any way a sign of weakness to do so. It's simply the right thing to do, and it makes a difference," he said.

Students who seek support are encouraged to meet with their RAs, other Residential Life staff, professionals at the Counseling Center or student peer counselors.

Last semester, the university sent information to students, faculty and staff on how to recognize students in emotional distress and how to respond. That material is available online at

Michael Mond, director of the JHU Counseling Center, said that many students will react to the death of a fellow student with grief and that the intensity can vary depending on how well they knew the person, their relationship with the individual or what it triggers for them from their own lives. Some people avoid their grief, he said, because it is too painful to think about, or "they feel they have to be strong as an example for others, or to maintain a public image.

"Grief is generally a normal and natural, though deeply painful, response to loss," Mond said. "It is important for people to know that experiencing their grief is an important part of the process to overcoming it. Additionally, completing the grief cycle properly often helps people learn about themselves, their ability to cope and deal with loss or other difficulties that may arise later in life."


Counseling Resources for Homewood Students

JHU Counseling Center
358 Garland Hall

Confidential Peer counseling
A Place to Talk

Office of Residential Life

Student Health and Wellness Center
410- 516-7777 (after hours)

Office of Campus Ministries
Interfaith Center
3400 N. Charles St.


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