Roosevelt University remembers student who died just before graduation

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ByRob Elgas via WLS logo
Friday, December 16, 2016
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A bittersweet moment at Roosevelt University's commencement ceremony on Friday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A bittersweet moment at Roosevelt University's commencement ceremony on Friday.

Ashanti McCall, a popular student who was supposed to graduate with her classmates, died unexpectedly last week.

At the commencement ceremony, her family walked for her and celebrated what she accomplished in her short life.

There was a standing ovation as Ashanti McCall's family received her diploma at the Auditorium Theatre.

The 23-year-old passed away last week after collapsing near her home in the Roseland neighborhood.

"When I left for work, she was her normal self, and within two hours later I got a call saying that a neighbor had found her face down with no pulse," said Sabrina McCall, Ashanti's mother.

McCall would have been the first in her family to graduate from college.

"Wearing that gown makes me feel that she's connected to me," said Jaden Dupaty, Ashanti's brother.

An accomplished student, McCall was the president of Roosevelt's Black Student Union and this year's winner of the school's social justice award.

"She was the type of person who worked hard and strived for social justice and lived her life that way, too. Her whole life was dedicated to being socially just and helping others," said Eric Chaney, a friend of McCall.

McCall also appeared in an ABC 7 story five years ago when she was student council president of her high school.

"She did whatever she had to do to succeed. Not only that, but she was very sweet, thoughtful and caring," said Jazmine Terrell-Harley, a friend of McCall.

The psychology major inspired many fellow students at her school, working as a peer mentor during her years at Roosevelt. Fellow students recalled her dedication to helping others at a gathering after the ceremony.

"I want to know what happened. What was the thing that took my daughter from me," said Sabrina McCall.

The cause of McCall's death is still not known. Her family said she had not been feeling well and had gone to the emergency room three times around Thanksgiving.