Samuel Terblanche, a CC junior majoring in Sustainable Development with a concentration in Economics, passed away after a recent illness.

Content warning: mentions of death

In an email to students on Thursday, Dean Josef Sorett announced the passing of Samuel Terblanche (CC ’25) following an illness. The email in its entirety can be found below.

Terblanche, a Sustainable Development major with a concentration in Economics, was involved in several on- and off-campus organizations regarding  climate change, sustainability, and impact investing. 

Friends have described Terblanche as a “firecracker full of light” and a person who “treated everyone with kindness.” They also noted that he was intelligent and intentional in his actions.

A space for reflection and community support will be held in Lerner 401 from 8 to 10 pm. Religious Life and Counseling and Psychological Services representatives will be in attendance. 

Dean Sorett ended his email by sharing his condolences to Terblanche’s family and friends and urging students to “seek care and support as needed in the days ahead.” He also shared campus resources, which can be found below.

Email from Dean Sorett to students at 5:45 pm on Thursday, September 21:

Dear Students, 

I write this evening to share with you the sad news of the death of Samuel Terblanche, a Columbia College junior living in Broadway Hall, who died following a recent illness.

Sam was an engaged and dedicated student majoring in sustainable development with a concentration in economics. He was active in a number of initiatives — both on and off-campus — related to climate change, impact investing and sustainability issues. Friends who have gathered to support one another shared that he was “a firecracker, full of light” and someone “who treated everyone with kindness.” They also described his intelligence, noting the intentional and deliberate way he approached things. In their words, “everyone loved him.”

Space for members of the community to gather for mutual support and reflection will be available tonight in Lerner 401 from 8 to 10 p.m., with members of Columbia Psychological Services and Religious Life in attendance.

This has been a difficult start to the semester, and I encourage each of you to check in on your friends and neighbors, and to seek care and support as needed in the days ahead. Below you will find a number of resources that are available to you on campus.

My deepest condolences go out to Sam’s family and friends, and my thoughts are with each of you, and the entire community, as we navigate this time of grieving together.

With deep sympathy and respect, 

Josef Sorett

Dean of Columbia College

Vice President for Undergraduate Education

cc: Shih-Fu Chang

Dean of Columbia Engineering

Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor

Resources for Students

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) provides 24/7 phone support at 212.854.2878. Walk-in sessions for students experiencing high levels of distress are available from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday in Lerner 502.

Columbia Religious Life can be reached for spiritual counseling at or 212-854-2184. Earl Hall and Saint Paul’s Chapel are open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 8:30 p.m., for prayer and reflection.

The Office of the University Chaplain can be reached for counseling at 212-854-1474 or at

Your advisers in the Berick Center for Student Advising can be reached for personal support by scheduling an appointment that is convenient for you.

Professional staff in Residential Life are always available. Should you need support, Public Safety can connect you with the Residence Hall Director on-call.

The Nightline Peer Listening service is available from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. at 212-854-7777 if you need help finding resources or simply someone to talk to.

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