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USC will award posthumous degree to student killed weeks before graduation



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The University of South Carolina will award a posthumous degree to Samantha Josephson, who was abducted and killed just weeks before graduation. Tribune News Service Buy Photos

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The University of South Carolina will award a posthumous degree to a student who was abducted and killed just weeks before graduation.

Samantha Josephson was abducted from outside a Five Points bar in the early hours of March 29 after getting into what police say she thought was an Uber. The 21-year-old senior and New Jersey native was found dead the next day in rural Clarendon County.

"Her parents contacted me on Sunday to tell me they're coming down for what would have been her graduation," university President Harris Pastides said Monday while speaking to the Rotary Club of Aiken, according to the Aiken Standard. "And I said, 'We'll be there waiting for you.' She had been accepted for law school, a free ride at Drexel University."

University spokesperson Jeff Stensland confirmed to The State on Tuesday that Josephson will be awarded the posthumous degree.

Nathaniel Rowland has been charged with murder and kidnapping in Josephson's death, which rattled the city of Columbia and the University of South Carolina campus.

During a campus vigil for Josephson, friends described her desire to be an attorney and practice international law. Her father, Seymour Josephson, told mourners they had put down a deposit at Drexel University and planned to visit their daughter in Columbia as a surprise the weekend that she was killed.

Earlier that day, Marci Josephson referenced her daughter's ambitions during a bond hearing for her accused killer.

"Unlike him, Samantha had love within her heart and purpose in her life, the life he brutally ended," she said.

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