FAMU remembers Elisa Thompson

A candle lighting ceremony for Elisa Thompson with students, faculty and staff.
Photo by Alychia Cole

A cloud of remorse hung over Florida A&M University’s campus Thursday night as students, faculty and loved ones gathered to remember the life of alumna Elisa Thompson.

Thompson, who graduated in the summer of 2016 with a bachelor’s in health information management, was found dead in her car Friday, Nov. 30. The 26-year-old Tallahassee native and mother of two was a member of Images Modeling Troupe, DIVAS Dance Team and also a member of Family Worship and Praise Center. Thompson was also pursuing her master's degree.

Taylor Hall, a student senator, presided at the ceremony. A prayer was given by Darias G. Bowens, youth minister. A musical selection by fellow student saxophonist Patrick Bentley was included in the program.

The reflection portion of the vigil brought light to a sad time and helped to comfort those in mourning. Among those who reflected were family, friends, Images members,  faculty and staff.

“She was dedicated to everything she did. She has taught us all how to stay dedicated toward our goals,” Princeton Studstill, 22, a senior public relations major and former Mr. Images Modeling Troupe, said. “I use that also for myself in these times as I get close to graduation to stay focused and to finish strong not only because that's something I want but also that is what she would've wanted, not just for me but for all of us.”

Former student senator Jeremiah Carter lit candles and offered words of encouragement

Thompson’s family was presented with an orange and green embellished floral arrangement from the university.  

Larry Robinson, president of Florida A&M University, was asked how students should deal with such tragedy during the school year, especially toward the end of the semester and a quickly approaching finals week.

“We pause to honor the life of Ms. Thompson, but at the same time, we recognized that we are blessed to be here and that we all have a purpose on this earth. FAMU students are really serious about expressing their support toward one another not only when times are good but also when time are bad. It is always good to have the support and to see the presence of the students at times like this,” Robinson said. “Students on this campus make sure we as people realize the importance of maintaining and establishing a love for one another. It is important for our students to know we do have professional services such as grief counseling and so forth available to them. We are a family and we need to work through these hard times together.”

Thompson’s sister, Evonia Thompson, encouraged anyone who would like to make donations toward her funeral to go to: https://www.gofundme.com/elisa-thompsons-kids-amp-funeral-expenses  .

Thompson leaves behind a 4-year-old son, Jayden Isaiah Thompson, and 1-year-old daughter, Jizelle Elise Collins. Thompson’s parents, Eugene Jr. and Judith Brown Thompson, attended along with her sisters, Kysha Watley, Kerstin, and Evonia Thompson and brothers, Geano and Eugene Thompson III.

The funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, at the Family Worship and Praise Center Enrichment Center at 2344 Lake Bradford Road. Also, a benefit concert will be held in Thompson’s honor at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Family Worship & Praise headquarters at 1609 Branch St.