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Chico State

Fond Farewell: Social Work Graduate Student Daphne Kenney

Stars shine above Trinity Hall.
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Graduate student Daphne Kenney, who was working toward her master’s in social work, passed away September 1. She was 33.

Born October 25, 1985, she attended Sierra College and then transferred to Chico State, graduating with her bachelor’s degree in social work in May. She began pursuing her master’s this summer in the one-year accelerated program. In addition to her studies, she worked and interned at the Salvation Army in Chico, and volunteered at the Peer Empowerment Center in Grass Valley.

During her tenure at Chico State, she forged incredible bonds with her faculty and classmates, and was highly respected for her acumen and passion, said School of Social Work Director Susan Roll.

“Kind, smart, engaged, Daphne was an amazing woman with a keen drive for social work,” Roll said. “She was just so unbelievable. She was a bright light with a deep sense of social justice.”

Kenney had a professional interest in serving various homeless communities and supporting individuals who had been previously incarcerated so that they could embrace a new chapter of their lives.

“Daphne always maintained a positive outlook and led a very healthy lifestyle incorporating all she had learned from her community in Grass Valley,” said Vincent Ornelas, director of the social work bachelor’s program. “In class, Daphne could always be counted on to respond to questions and oftentimes was a quiet leader with a ready smile for her colleagues. Her gracefulness and positive energy will be sorely missed.”

Kenney is survived by her mother, Nancy, and siblings Jana and Jethro.

The University flag will be lowered in her memory Monday, September 9.