Senior Holly Mahnke, an agricultural science and education major, passed away July 15. She was 21.
Born October 6, 2000, she was a dedicated student who met great success in both her academic and extracurricular pursuits. Mahnke enrolled at Chico State in fall 2020, where she made an immediate impression on her faculty and classmates with her enthusiasm and natural leadership.
“From the moment I met her, I knew that Holly was a kind and thoughtful person who cared about others’ happiness and success,” said Professor Alyssa Schager. “Her smile was genuine, and her heart pure.”
With an infectious smile, radiant positivity, and passion for agriculture, Mahnke was a delight to have as a student, said Professor Mollie Aschenbrener.
“In her last email to me, she shared ‘It’s a new day and a new week,’” Aschenbrener said. “I think that highlights her positive attitude that she shared with everyone around her. She was well-liked by peers and instructors and was so excited to become an agricultural instructor.”
Passionate and dynamic, Mahnke was destined to be an influential and impactful teacher of agriculture, said Professor Tommy Henderson, noting he was honored to have taught her.
“Holly had a maturity and sincerity about her that was beyond her years,” Henderson said. “She was incredibly reliable and a woman of her word. She led by example, and her peers respected this about her. She was consistent in her actions, confident in her abilities, yet full of grace.”
Following in the footsteps of family members who were proud Chico State alumni, Mahnke loved being a Wildcat. She was a proud member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority and enjoyed spending time at the University Farm, especially driving its tractors. With one semester left to complete her degree, she participated in the 2022 Commencement ceremonies this May. She then planned to enroll in the credential program.
Friends and family have created a GoFundMe to create the Holly Mahnke Memorial Scholarship at Beyer High School to pay tribute to her agricultural ambitions and love of animals and academics.
Mahnke is survived by her parents Chris and Teresa Mahnke, sisters Tiffany Wilson and Alissa Taylor, grandfather and grandmother James and Alice Hansen, and an extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Services will be held at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church of Hughson on Thursday, July 28, at 10:30 a.m. A reception will follow.
The University flag will be lowered Wednesday, July 27, in her memory.