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Sharing Sad News

young woman in fleece jacket sits on rock, ocean in background
Holly Elizabeth Mello. Courtesy photo

Dear members of the Emerson community,

Realizing that our community continues to recover from the sadness and shock over the loss of a member of our undergraduate community, I nevertheless feel compelled to share that we also recently lost a member of our graduate student community. Holly Elizabeth Mello, 35, of Tiverton, RI passed away January 31, 2023 after an illness. She was a current student in the College’s MFA in Film and Media Art program. The daughter of Sheila M. Aguiar and Mario Mello (Lezette DaSilva). Holly is also survived by her maternal grandmother Marilyn Aguiar, and several aunts, uncles, cousins and countless amazing friends.

Holly graduated from Rhode Island College with a BA in film and photography and will be awarded her Master of Fine Arts degree from Emerson posthumously. 

Holly was a talented filmmaker, funny, spirited and passionate. Prior to her illness, in her spare time, Holly loved to hike, mountain climb, kayak and spend time with her friends.  She was also an avid reader.  

We hope to be able to screen Holly’s thesis film with her classmates’ films in May.

The College mourns this loss along with that of Brooks Walker, who died unexpectedly February 3. We will miss them both. Support for members of our community is available through several resources on campus including the Healing & Advocacy Collective, the Office of Spiritual Life, the Employee Assistance Program, and Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services. The College has professional staff on call 24 hours a day and can be reached by contacting any member of the residence education staff, or by contacting ECPD at 617-824-8555.

Please join me in extending our deepest condolences to Holly’s family, friends, classmates and faculty. 


William Gilligan,
Interim President

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