Benjamin Codjoe remembered for optimism, smile

Tyler Pager, Campus Editor

Benjamin Codjoe’s smile was infectious.

His friends say his trademark smile could brighten anyone’s day. It was the epitome of who he was: a kind-hearted, devout Christian.

“It was the type of smile that was just magnetic, so no matter what he was going through he always made sure that his smile showed through,” said Merih Ocbazghi, a first-year Kellogg student and co-president of the Africa Business Club. “No matter what you were going through, you could see the genuineness behind it and you couldn’t help but smile yourself.”

Codjoe, a first-year student in the Kellogg School of Management, was found dead Friday morning in the McManus Living-Learning Center. The cause of death is still pending. Evanston police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan said he had a previous medical condition and there were no signs of foul play.

Kellogg Dean Sally Blount notified students of his death Saturday.

“Ben was a fantastic student who cared deeply about the quality and integrity of our community,” she wrote. “He always had a giant smile on his face and we will greatly miss his energy and forward-looking attitude.”

Codjoe, 28, was from Accra, Ghana, and had previously attended Ashesi University in Ghana and worked for Vodafone in Ghana and India. He was recently selected as the vice president for professional development for the Africa Business Club.

Asuquo Mfon, a first-year Kellogg student and co-president of the Africa Business Club, said Codjoe was responsible for helping people who were interested in careers in Africa. He said Codjoe wanted to do private equity work in Africa.

“He made the point to slow down with all the crazy things that were going on with business school with recruiting all that and do the small things that matter,” he said. “Encourage people when they’re down, congratulate people on the good things they did — just kind of infuse positivity into every situation.”

Students gathered for a candlelight vigil Sunday to remember Codjoe. There is also a book at the reception table in the Donald P. Jacobs Center for people to share memories about him. The book will be sent to his family in Ghana, Ocbazghi said.

“Across a really diverse group of students, they all said the same things about Ben and they’re all incredibly positive,” Ocbazghi said about the vigil. “Those of us who felt like we knew him really well were surprised by the impact that he had on the lives of people that we didn’t even know he was interacting with.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @tylerpager