Monday, November 19, 2007

Remembering Amadou Cisse, 1978-2007

by Hyde Park Crime Watch
Last updated Nov. 25

The University community is mourning the loss of Amadou L. Cisse last night. Amadou was 28 years old. He was an international graduate student from Senegal studying at the University of Chicago. Senegalse officials said Cisse was the son of a deceased military officer. His mother, two brothers and a sister live in Dakar, the nation's capital.

Amadou was a student in Steven Sibener's group in the Chicago Materials Research Center where he studied atomic oxygen erosion. Amadou's doctoral dissertation was entitled "Photodegradation of Poly(Methyl Methacrylate) and Applications in Surface Science and Diffusion Studies". He defended his dissertation on November 1, and completed the requirements for a Ph.D. in chemistry. The University will award him the degree posthumously. As a student, Amadou co-authored several research papers, including Self-Assembly of FePt Nanoparticles on Modified Diblock Copolymer Templates. In 2002 he was awarded the McCormick Fellowship.

Amadou was a chemistry teaching assistant at the University. One student remembered that "he was always trying to get his section to score the highest on the exams, and we usually did because he helped us so much."

Amadou majored in chemistry at Bates College, where he graduated in 2001. One friend who left a comment here described him as "the brightest chemistry student I have ever met."

According to postings he made on the internet, Amadou was interested in contemporary African literature, including works by Mariama Ba. He enjoyed jogging and lifting weights. He was a Muslim who was interested in preserving traditional values of modesty in Senegal. A commenter left a message indicating that he was fluent in several languages, carrying on conversations in French and English at the same time.

"As a Muslim, she [his mother] said that what happened is from God," said Sadio Cissokho, consul general of the Senegalese Embassy in Washington. He said she is awaiting the return of her son's body, which she wants to bury quickly in accordance with Muslim practice.

Memorials to Amadou
If you knew Amadou, we invite you to leave a memory in the comments section. Please email photos you would like to share to

There will be a candlelight vigil at 3:30 tomorrow (Tuesday November 20), hosted by Student Government, in the Central Quad (Rain Location in Kent Lobby).

Remembrances from the Sibener Group
Amadou loved Senegalese music so much, that he recorded it onto tapes from Senegalese radio online. That's why he still had a walkman. He was planning to get an iPod after graduation. His whole life was on hold till after graduation.

Amadou was a teaching assistant for general chemistry several times over the course of his graduate studies. He greatly enjoyed teaching and was very devoted to his students. I think working with students was one of the things he most enjoyed. He was always talking about how to improve his students' understanding of the material and rooting for their success.

He said quantum mechanics was the hardest class he took in graduate school. He used to take the problem sets and struggle all weekend over the problems in the library. He was very proud of having done so well in that class. Toward the end of his time here, he was working on complex diffusion problems, and I think he was happy to be once again spending his time searching through textbooks trying to understand his results. I think this was probably his favorite part of research.

Amadou was a quiet, humble, and kind man as well as a wonderful friend. He will always be remembered for those qualities, his diligence, and his hard-working ways. He was a good man taken from us much too soon. Words cannot express how much we will miss him.

Saffi has written a prayer in memory of Amadou:
Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilayhi Raji'oon (Indeed everything is from Allah and to Allah we will return)
May Allah enter him into the highest ranks of Jennah among the Shuhadaa, May Allah ease the loss of his family and friends, and May Allah help us to rectify the society which causes such senseless killings.

Memorials emailed to hydeparkcrime
I am very sad seeing the video report the death of Amadou cisse. I’m senegalese leaving in italy i am very chocked by that news. I join my solidarity to his familly, and saying them courage in helding the futur. But police must do their job to find out the killer and justice be done.
Ba insa and familly
I did not know him but I wish to pay homage to a young man that well represented himself, his family and Senegal abroad! May he rest in pace may Allah accept him in his paradise! Amen! Gabriel Sylla(Canada)
May God bless U bro...You've been a homie .........We will always remenber. Jules Dex
The sudden and absurd death of Amadou Cisse is a tremendous lost to humanity. An intellectual elite and a will be pioneer in the man kind progress has been once again victim of a village idiot act. This tragedy highlights the taboo topic of black on black crime which wipes out the scarce and proud young black men and women who’re devoted in fulfilling the common believe of the used to be oppressed.
Oh Senegal, Sunugal,
Oh mother Africa, dry your tears, you’ve lost one of your brightest son but his death won’t be in vain.
We pray for a better world and may god host him in eternal paradise. Rest in peace, beloved brother …….
Amadou Bah
I am deeply touched by this crime. It shows the how insensitive, cruel, and inhuman people are nowadays. I knew him back to high school. Even though we have never talked (because he was in the 10th while I was in the 7th'), I admired him a lot. He was smart, and had a light in his eyes. He was such an exceptional human being, that I can not find the right words to express my sorrow. To Amadou Lamine Cisse's family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. you have my deepest sympathy. May ALLAH (SWT) bless his soul. May he protect him against: the temptations of death and the tomb, hell, and against djajjal. May he be part of those who walk on the Sirat Al Mustakhima bridge and enter the heavenly world. May ALLAH (SWT), preserves his soul and help him find peace. May ALLAH (SWT) gives faith, courage and strength to his hurtful family. As short as his live seems to have been to us, we do not have the power to choose who lives long or short. We do not have the power to undo death. But we have the power to chose to mourn no more this gentle soul, and celebrate his life, by maintaining his name as a legacy and make sure that he remains unforgotten because of who the person he was. Let us always remember this wonderful young man whose life in this world had been awfully taken, but whose story is one of the greatest. In Loving memory of Amadou Lamine Cisse, Loving son, brother and friend, Gentle soul! --Ndeye Yacine Mbodj

Additional memorial reflections can be found here...


Anonymous said...

I am deeply shocked and saddened to learn of Amadou's tragic death. He was a fellow resident at the International House, where I stayed for a couple of years. Although I do not know him personally I remember him as a diligent and earnest scholar with a bright future ahead of him. He was also fluent in several languages, carrying on conversations in French and English at the same time. He had many friends and treated others with respect and sincerity. All of us who knew him will grieve his loss.


Georgi said...

Amadou's senseless and brutal death has come as a shock to those who knew him as the kind, respectful person he was. On behalf of the International House residents, the Residents' Council would like to express our deepest sympathies to those who knew him and our profound sadness about this tragedy.


Anonymous said...

I am shocked to hear about Amadou's untimely death. We were both Chemistry majors at Bates College and I go to know him during the many classes we had together. Both of us being from Francophone Africa, we had had several enlightening discussions and Amadou was the brightest Chemistry student I have ever met. My prayers go out to his family and may his soul rest in peace.
Neeraj Mahadoo

Mojowen said...

There will be a Community Meeting tonight at 5:30 in the McCormick Tribune Lounge to discuss this tragic turn of events.

Anonymous said...

He was a very gentle, nice intelligent man. He was my teachers assistant for Chemistry, and he worked extremely hard teaching us. He was always trying to get his section to score the highest on the exams, and we usually did because he helped us so much.

Safi said...

Here is a prayer for Amadou, my friend new him personally.

Mojowen said...

There will be a candlelight vigil at 3:30 tomorrow, hosted by Student Government, in the Central Quad (Rain Location in Kent Lobby).

Please attend to grieve this tragic loss.

Anonymous said...

You can read remembrances of Amadou by his colleagues from the Department of Chemistry...


Anonymous said...

I did not personally know Amadou, nor am I a student, but this is such a shock and a sad loss to all of humanity. This touches me deeply because I have 2 sons in college and I understand the hopes and dreams we have for our children. My prayers go out to his entire family, friends, colleagues and all whose lives he touched. By the grace of God may you all have the peace and comfort you need through this most difficult time.

Liv said...

I never had the opportunity of meeting Amadou, but upon his death I learned that we were neighbors. Last night I wondered what he was thinking as he walked home, after what I imagine was a long day of studying. In what became his last walk, I hope that Amadou was thinking of his accomplishments, or perhaps his loved ones or something that he valued in his life. Too often in our busy student lives we can be preoccupied with the challenges our studies present us. We are quick to complain and often forget to value the beauty of life. Amadou's death reminds us of our truly fragile state. So close to completing his PhD, to turning 30, to moving on to the next step of his life, and it was all taken away from him. I hope that Amadou was content with his life when it ended. I send prayers to his family and my apologies as an American for not doing all that I can to ensure that those who visit this country can return home safely. Let us all us remember to value life while we have it.

YMM said...

This senseless loss of one of our brothers and sons is both shocking and painful to a profound degree. My prayers are with his family, friends, colleagues, and any others impacted by this tragedy. My only hope is that through Amadou's shortened life we may begin to look at ways to reject and smother violence of any kind in our society.

Maria said...

Amadou always had a kind, slow smile and a friendly hello for me. If his family is reading this, I send my deepest sympathy for your loss. Those of us who went through the chemistry program at Chicago with Amadou will have very good memories of him.

Anonymous said...

Today is a very sad day for all senegalese people leaving in America but a very sad one for a mother who fought and send her son to the US with all it takes financially. Who ever killed Amadou would never ever dream of such a bright level of education. As an educated senegalese woman who lives in Canada I'm again frustrated. I will not admit any stereotype about black people.Another clever african student is gone like dust. That's not fair. I think US politicians should invest their budget in priority on education, lower crime, so people like that idiot killer would busier than taking Amadou away from his family and Africa. Because in Africa we have been taken so much that angel like Amadou Cisse are blessed and welcome. Inalilahi wa inna illayhi rajahoun. May the Almighty let you end your youth in paradise.
Your African sister Penda,

Mojowen said...

Recently released by the University in connection with this case:

Mojowen said...

This was sent from Aamadou's Alma Matar, Bates College:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I lived with Amadou at the IHouse and have nothing but great memories of him. As a friend, I am very devasted by this injustice and can't imagine why something of sort will happen to a person of such nature. Being an African, I know what his mother must be going through at this time. My prayers go out to her and the rest of his family. Amadou, I only wish I could see that lovely smile one more time. I wish to hear you tell the stories of Maine again. I will greatly miss you and prayer that you find peace in your final resting place, Inshalah!

Anonymous said...

As a Chicago native who was so welcomed by Senegalese and Gambians while I served in the Peace Corps, I can only say that I am so very disappointed by my hometown homies.
Truly the world has lost a leader in a senseless killing.
Lay down the guns!
May we strive toward a nonviolent society and world.
Amadou, yalla dina la nuyu si arjuna.
Baalal suyn nit ku dof!
My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his country, who has lost a precious member.

Anonymous said...

It fills me with disgust to know that such a great, wonderful, young man ends up being shot by some worthless scumbag. How can a top school like U of C lets things get to this point. I know that Hyde Park is borderd by rough places, but its not like the university officials did not know that until today. It is so unfortunate that sometimes we don't act about something until we are hit so bad by an already exisiting comment. Students pay thousands of dollars to go to U of C and expect to be safe. May GOD help his family because they are ones who will be effected the most.
UC Berkely
Berkely, CA

Papa Amar said...

I did not know Amadou personally but his story and tragic death have caught my attention. May the soul of Amadou rest in peace. He has lived a short but quite accomplished life. My sincere condolences to his family and all his friends. As a Senegalese living two hours from where he was shot, this tragedy has certainly shaken me to say the least. Unfortunately the good and innocent people seem to always pay the price for all the injustice in this world and this has to end. We must put an end to these senseless killings. I hope that the authorities in Chicago and the community will take the necessary steps to make it more secure for all residents of Chicago, including those from "tough" neighborhoods. May Allah welcome him to paradise.

Honoring Amadou Cisse said...

I have been reading messages from Senegalese people and overseas Africans, who expressed deep sense of loss. He wasn't just another gunshot victim or another unfortunate fellow African, but someone very special to many who recognized his potential. We may be born equal, but some just live their lives to the fullest, because they believe in change. It seems that Amadou was one of them. What are chances of someone from his background to make it all the way? Very slim. He beat the odds to the last minute. Amadou could have become a hero to his compatriots.

All this considered, I think Chicago as a community owes him, his family, and Senegalese people something, more than $10,000 witness reward. I don't think a few tears and sorrowful eulogies will do. In a month or so, we'll forget about him and move on with our lives, hoping that Chicago becomes more secure for us. Despite everything that he strove for, he'd be remembered as a gunshot victim. "Victim" is probably one of the worst identities one can ask for in life and in death. It is also contrary to the spirit that sustained his life of 28 years.

I hope University of Chicago or any other organization/donor create a scholarship foundation on his behalf, so it can help young scientists from his country or any other under-privileged country to carry on his dreams. We can never replace Amadou for what he was, but we need to find proper ways to honor his spirit in the long run.

Julie Marie said...

When I found out about this tragedy, I was absolutely heartbroken. Amadou was my teaching assistant and was so dedicated to engaging his students and ensuring that we understood the material. He also spent countless hours tutoring me one-on-one, and was so patient and encouraging as I pursued my studies in chemistry. Amadou was an incredibly intelligent, giving, compassionate person whom I feel honored to have had the opportunity to know. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.

Saif said...

I am shocked at the news, which has jolted me deeply as Amadou was my dearest friend at Bates, a brother to me and one who was always there to help and talk to.

He was very true to his Muslim faith, deeply spiritual, forgiving, and always saw what was good in others.

He was keen to settle down soon after his PhD and get married and start a family. This senseless act, is as his mother has been quoted - as decreed by Allah (God) and this is how it is to be accepted.

Having just heard the news I am yet to digest it and it will take some time. I pray for him and his family. Your brother Saif

Katerina said...

I was in the same class with Amadou in 2001-2002 at UofC. We set together in physical chemistry classes. We worked together on the tough chemistry assignments and taught general chemistry for undergraduate students. He was smart, friendly, helpful, cheerful, and kind person, he would always smile to me. I am shocked and cannot stop grieving.

Anonymous said...

May the Most Gracious, Most Merciful Allah have mercy on your soul. May he help your family through this difficult time.

Jonathan Michael Cross said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Michael Cross said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Michael Cross said...

Like many who have posted comments honoring the life and legacy of Amadou Cisse, I never had the pleasure of knowing him personally. However, upon hearing of his unwarranted murder, and after attending the memorial service held in his honor at Bond Chapel this afternoon, I feel as if I have lost a member of my own immediate family, and in a manner of speaking I have. Words cannot adequately express my profound sadness and deep feeling of loss.

Amadou and I were born in the same year (i.e., 1978), and we are both Taaw. In Wolof, Taaw means that an individual is the eldest member of her/his family. In fact, Amadou shares the same birth date as my third sibling James (i.e., October 12th). It pains me greatly to know what his family is experiencing right now--the bewilderment, the loss, and the untempered wrenching of the soul. We need to make it a point to hold his family up in prayer and support forever, and not permit the hustle and bustle of American greed-based living to erase the lessons taught by this senseless tragedy from the tablets of our hearts and minds. This is the very least that we must do.

I was moved by the sincere words uttered at today's memorial service by some of those who knew this brother best. However, the eulogy by Czerny Brasuell, Director of Multicultural Affairs, Bates College; continue to reverberate throughout every aspect of my being. For what it is worth and just for starters, I think that a full (i.e., unedited) transcript of Ms. Brasuell's remembrance should be prominently published in every major and/or relevant UofC publication. The best way to remember the greatest among us is to never forget the lofty ideals for which they stood in the first instance. Consequently, Ms. Brasuell's words, while evoking careful analysis, critical reflection, and much-needed soul searching by all of us, do not afford any of us the pseudo-luxury of ever forgetting the many grand ideals that made Amadou's life so magnificent. I hope that this (i.e., the publication of Ms. Brasuell's remembrance of Amadou Cisse) can/will be done.

Amadou, the light in your eyes, the warmth of your smile, and the rare brilliance that Allah has manifested through your life shall live forever! Thank you so very much for your example. You are my Taaw, and I am fortunate.

With Great Love & Respect,

Jonathan Michael Cross

Jina said...

I did not know Amadou personally, but have been deeply saddened by his loss. I have thought of him daily since hearing the news. He was one of our best and brightest, a wonderful young man by all acounts. Amadou, I wish we could change that day -- maybe gotten you home a little sooner, or delayed your arrival by just enough to keep you from harm's way. Hope we can change things so that kindness and intelligence like yours may touch more. If we could provide more hope and help to our fellow brothers and sisters perhaps we could decrease the desperate senseless acts that take away such precious sources of light. The thoughts of so many are with you. My prayers are with you and all those who knew and love you.

--A fellow U of C grad.

Mawussi said...

J'ai connu Amadou Lamine Cissé depuis le l'école primaire "Cours Primaire Sacré-Cœur" à Dakar, au Sénégal. Je crois même que nous avons fait le classe de CI ensemble. Lamine, quelqu'un très brillant et de plus en plus performant au fil des années. Il a poursuivi sa scolarité au collège Sacré-Cœur de Dakar (Sénégal), a été membre de l'équipe Génie en Herbe de son collège qui a plusieurs fois représenté le Sénégal dans le monde la francophonie,... jusqu'en classe de seconde où il a été sélectionné au niveau national pour aller passer le baccalauréat international au États-Unis.
Ce n'est pas seulement un surdoué et de bosseur mais aussi un ami fidèle, avec un grand cœur facilement perceptible, calme, humble comme tout, croyant et pratiquant.
Je l'ai perdu de vue à son départ pour les État-Unis et ne l'ai revu qu'environ 7/8 ans après, lors d'une visite de son jeune frère à Toulouse. Il n'a pas changé, n'a jamais pris la grosse tête, toujours si agréable, discret respectueux et souriant.
Ma douleur est très grande lorsque je pense à celui que je considère à vis comme un ami à vie, mais elle n'est certainement rien par rapport à celle de sa mère, sa sœur et son frère qui l'aiment tant.
Mes sincères condoléances à sa toute sa famille et tous ceux qui comme moi le pleurent amèrement.
Que Dieu tout puissant l'accueille dans son Paradis.

shodonou said...

Je suis très choqué et particulièrement attristé d'apprendre une telle information. Amadou Lamine Cissé et moi avons fait ensemble le cours secondaire Sacré-Coeur de Dakar jusqu'en classe de Terminale. Nous avons fait la classe de Seconde ensemble et il a toujours été très apprécié par mon père (notre professeur de Mathématiques en cette année là) ainsi que par tout le monde du fait de l'excellence dont il a toujours fait montre en tout. La veille de son départ pour les Etats-Unis, nous nous sommes réjoui ensemble et lui avons souhaité plein de bonheur et de succès dans le Nouveau monde où il allait se rendre.
Depuis lors, nous nous sommes perdu de vue et voilà qu'une sale et triste nouvelle nous est communiquée. Mon être intérieur est attristé et c'est les larmes aux yeux que je pense à sa maman ainsi qu'à son frère et a sa soeur que j'ai connus également.
Puisse Dieu appaiser les coeurs de ses parents ainsi que de tous ceux qui l'ont connu, admiré et aimé. Qu'il comble ce grand vide que des individus immondes ont créé.
J'espérais qu'un jour, nos chemins se recroisent, mais non, il n'en sera malheureusement pas ainsi.
Repose en paix lamine et que la terre te soit légère.

Stéphane Hodonou

TBJ said...

Learning this lamentable new so late, I was sad and shocked. I have never met Amadou Cisse personally, but we have been exchanging messages - he was interested also in literature in Wolof and I have always admired his kindness, politeness, modesty intelligence and religious knowledge. May his souls rests in eternal peace.

Mojowen said...

This post and comments have been printed out and sent to Amadou's family along with the memory book.

Missing Lamine said...

He was the best person i ever know.

Anonymous said...

Cher compatriote,
Le hasard…….. cruel et aveugle bien souvent, par la main d’un voleur de rien du tout a voulu et decidè de ta vie ou hélas de la fin de ta vie. J’ai su, cher ami, je me sens si proche de toi, que nous avions fréquenté la meme école et donc forcement les memes lieux, les memes personnes… et beaucoup d’émotions, la Sicap, l’ècole Sacrè Cœur, les kherrou touba, les pains au lait, les guertès tiaffs à la porte de l’ecole, les jours de remise de carnets, la fin de l’année avec ses promotions ses applaudissements pour les bons élèves comme toi et ses encouragements ou ses menaces de cours de vacances pour les moins bons…. Et toi et quelques uns comme toi choisi pour représenter l’école aux différents concours généraux, aux féroces batailles intellectuelles que se livraient les génies en herbe.
J’ai su cher Hamet que quelqu’un qui ne sait rien de toi, rien de qui tu es ni de loin ni de près a decidè de ta vie, quelqu’un qui ne saura jamais ce que vous avez sacrifié ta famille et toi pour arriver où tu étais , à deux doigts de conclure un brillant curcus qui te donnait le plein droit de compter parmi les élus, parmi ceux qui peuvent faire la différence, parmi ceux qui peuvent donner de l’espoir aux autres . Je ne dirai pas les paroles « sache que justice sera faite… » je n’y crois pas si ce n’est en celle divine, je ne ressens aucune haine pour ton assassin, c’est sans aucun doute un pauvre etre, je dirai simplement que je suis profondément touchée par ta mort absurde, que je suis de tout cœur avec ta famille, que j’aurai toujours une pensée pour toi, que mes prières t’accompagnent .
Je voudrais Hamet te dire simplement ces vers de L. Byron et t’embrasser et t’enlacer affectueusement.
“ But I have lived and not have lived in vain:
My mind may loose its forces, my blood the fire,
And my frame perish even in conquering pain;
But there is that within me which shall tire Torture and Time,
And breathe when I expire.”

Maurice Lawson said...

May the Lord give you eternal life,and forgive all people that have taken your life.We are still we you,my brother.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

My bro lamine happy bday u shoud blow 35 candles today miss u love u sidiki