Emory Goizueta scholar Amy Che unexpectedly died on the morning of March 18, according to an email sent to BBA students from Senior Associate Dean and BBA Program Director Andrea Hershatter. Che’s death was attributed to natural causes. She was 20 years old.
Che was pursuing a joint BBA and master’s in public accounting degree along with a bachelor’s degree from Emory College in Latin. She was involved in student organizations such as 180 Degrees Consulting, Emory Food Chain and Emory Quiz Bowl. Che graduated from Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, in 2017.
As a Goizueta scholar, Che was part of a small cohort of students who were selected in high school to have early entrance to the undergraduate business school. Hershatter said she first met Che when she was in high school and visited Emory to interview for the scholars program.
“She was brilliant, she was very, very passionate about both business topics as well as her liberal arts studies,” Hershatter said. “It would surprise me if more than one or two students ever have been double majors in Latin and BBA, it’s not a traditional path for business students. She wasn’t just a serious student, she was involved in a wide variety of clubs and activities, she never missed an opportunity to participate … she was very actively engaged in our community.”
Goizeuta Business Law Professor Alison Burdette said that Che blended the scholarly and the social: she was imaginative and realistic, and used those skills to constantly question how she could improve her community.
“She was ‘the’ Emory student – that Emory scholar that we seek to get,” Burdette said. “She was making Emory a great university and I am crushed.”
In an email to the Wheel, Betty Gage Holland Professor of Roman History Judith Evan Grubbs also shed light on the student she says “really had her life put together.” Che was in four of Evan Grubbs’ classes.
“She was by far the best student in the class, better than even the graduate students,” Evan Grubbs said. “I thought, ‘Who is this brilliant first year student?’”
According to Evan Grubbs, their relationship existed both within and beyond the classroom and she always admired Che’s ability to converse with both seriousness and through humor.
Usha Rackliffe, associate professor in the practice of accounting, taught Che’s Federal Income Tax class this semester and described her as a “gentle soul with a giant spirit.”
“She was probably one of the brightest students I’ve ever had … she had this gorgeous smile and just lit up the room,” Rackliffe said. “When a person like that is gone, your world is just that much darker and that much dimmer.”
A memorial page created for Che contains a tribute wall for friends and colleagues.
“Amy had a clear vision of what she wanted for her future, and worked with intensity to bring it to fruition,” Gabrielle Blade (22C), roommate and friend of Che, said on the page. “With her advice and encouragement, I too began to focus more on my future. In my time at Emory, I have not met someone more fueled by ambition and dedication than Amy.”
The Wheel reached out to Amy’s family members, who declined to comment and instead requested privacy during this time.
The email sent to BBA students specified that counseling and support services are available to the Emory community. Students may reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services by calling (404) 727-7450. Faculty and staff may reach the Faculty Staff Assistance Program at (404) 727-4328.
A private funeral service for Che’s family was held on March 24.
Ayushi Agarwal and Isaiah Poritz contributed reporting.