Arkansas Tech University mourns loss of student who died of COVID-19

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ark.- The Arkansas Tech University community is grieving the loss of one of their own.

Charisma Khilling

Charisma Khilling, 22, passed away from complications from COVID-19 on March 21st after battling the virus for months.

Faculty say Charisma lived up to her namesake, as they remember her as passionate about her studies and being very kind.

Sad notes linger in the air at Arkansas Tech University, as one chair in the band room now sits empty.

“It’s tough,” said Professor of Biology Jacqueline Bowman. “And it’s like you kind of have a hole there, where that student was.”

Khilling played trombone in the band. The soft-spoken student who loved animals succumbed to COVID-19 just a few months before she was supposed to graduate.

Her biology professors remember Charisma fondly.

“And she was doing some very good work, even though she had only been there for a couple of weeks,” Bowman said. “You could see she really cared about learning about that topic.”

Bowman says Charisma was very upset when she first came down with COVID.

“And she was trying to keep up with the class,” Bowman said.

Until she just couldn’t do it anymore.

“But of course, she kept getting sicker…and sicker,” Bowman said. “And the rest of the students were upset.”

Charisma was a talented writer who had passionate ideas.

Another of her professors, Dr. Eric Lovely, releasing this statement:

She was an environmentalist and was working on a project to encourage Arkansas Tech to produce green energy on campus either with solar or wind installations. She will be sincerely missed by many of us in McEver Hall.

Dr. Eric Lovely, Professor at Arkansas Tech

Charisma was a true talent and a kind woman whose life’s song ended before it was finished.

Charisma was on the Dean’s List many times during her career at Arkansas Tech.

The ATU community saying she will be missed by all who knew her.

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