Florida A & M University student and spokesperson for Fashion Fair Cosmetics was pronounced dead Monday evening at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, according to James Hawkins, dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication.
Courtney Simms, 22, a Gary, Indiana, native, was taken to the hospital Monday night by her boyfriend, according to Hawkins.
“This is such a great loss,” said Hawkins, who learned the news from Dorothy Bland, director of the division of journalism.
“I drove to the hospital and it was confirmed by a nurse that Courtney did in fact die,” he said.
Meningitis is the suspected cause of death, Hawkins said.
“It breaks the heart of everyone here at the school…she was extremely active,” he added.
Simms was a former anchor of FAMU-TV 20 and served as the spokesperson for Fashion Fair Cosmetics in 2007. She also was a member of the Presidential Ambassadors and FAMU Images Modeling Troupe. This summer, Simms was an intern at WTXL-27 in Tallahassee.
“WTXL wanted to hire her right after her internship,” Hawkins said. “She did raving good work.”
Professor Kenneth Jones, who advised Simms during her tenure at FAMU, said the broadcast journalism student was dynamic.
“She helped us establish our first newscast [on FAMU-TV 20],” Jones said. “She also called Obama [as winner] during our special election show…she was cool as a cucumber.”
Simms expected to graduate this Fall, according to Jones.
Plans for a memorial service are pending, according to Hawkins.
“We want to reach out to the family before we confirm any plans,” he said.
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