News, Obituaries

Candlelight vigil memorializes compassionate, innovative business student

Tahir Kurji

Tahir Alikhan Kurji died the night of Dec. 15 on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus at the age of 22. Kurji was an industrial engineering and economics major from Tampa, Fla.

He served on the executive board of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity and was an administrative assistant at the university’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

UM Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely issued a statement the day after his death, calling Kurji a “bright and hardworking junior.”

“His former supervisor at Sylvester Cancer Center noted his terrific work ethic and that he was a wonderful person to be around,” the statement said.

On his LinkedIn summary, Kurji wrote, “Ultimately, my passion is to meld technology and business in order to make innovative advancements more accessible to consumers … I hope to one day be a business leader in the technology industry and I look forward to opportunities to show what I am capable of in the future.”

His fraternity brothers in Alpha Kappa Psi called Kurji an “extraordinarily amazing person” in an online statement. Friends remembered him on social media, celebrating his compassionate and engaging nature.

“Tahir was the heart and soul of Alpha Kappa Psi,” wrote junior Sammy Schneider. “Whether you knew him for a semester or for years, he treated all of his brothers/friends with endless compassion and love.”

UM alumnus and friend Scott Rose noted on Kurji’s Facebook timeline, “There are few with influence and passion as strong as which you possessed.”

In 2014, Kurji launched his own “student-run, start-up venture,” Canes Student Services, to “sell ease-of-mind” to UM students, according to his LinkedIn profile. The service provided students with laundry service, gift and care package delivery and marketing services to “make the college experience easier and more enjoyable for students.”

More than one hundred friends, professors and other members of the UM community gathered on the Lakeside Patio on Wednesday to pay tribute to Kurji’s legacy by sharing stories about their friend and lighting candles to remember how the “candle of the soul” could not be extinguished with death.

For students in need of grief counseling or other assistance, counselors and chaplains are available. The Counseling Center can be reached at 305-284-5511. Whitely also recommended that students feel free to reach her office at 305-284-4922.

January 18, 2017


Isabella Cueto

Isabella Cueto can be reached via email at and through Twitter at @isabellacueto.

Jackie Yang

Jackie Yang can be reached via email at

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.