Ds Scholarship

Cheslie Kryst’s Alma Mater Creates Scholarship in Her Name

  • A public memorial service for Cheslie Kryst was held on Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
  • The former Miss USA, attorney, and ExtraTV host died by suicide on January 30 at age 30.
  • Kryst’s alma mater Wake Forest University announced it created a scholarship in her name.

Family members and friends of Cheslie Kryst gathered on Friday at a public memorial service in Charlotte, North Carolina, to celebrate the life of the former Miss USA, attorney, and ExtraTV host.

Kryst, who was 30 years old, died by suicide on January 30. Following Kryst’s death, her mother April Simpkins shared in a statement that her daughter had high-functioning depression.

Kryst’s alma mater Wake Forest University, where she earned her law degree and an MBA in 2017, announced during the service held at Elevation Church in Blakeney that it had named an annual scholarship in her honor to be awarded to a law student of color, according to DaShawn Browna journalist for local news outlet WSOC-TV.

Brown, who attended the memorial service, tweeted that the scholarship will be named the Cheslie C. Kryst Diversity & Social Justice Law Scholarship.

The Charlotte Observer’s Jonathan Limehouse reported that the scholarship will be given to a Black, indigenous, or law student of color from the Carolinas each year. Representatives for Wake Forest University did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Kryst was an attorney who worked pro bono for clients serving sentences for low-level drug offenses.

Edward Watson, a man whose prison sentence Kryst helped reduce and who became free after 25 years in prison after being convicted on drug and weapons charges, spoke about Kryst’s compassion at the public memorial, according to The Charlotte Observer.

“In life, we encounter ordinary people, but there are rare cases when we meet extraordinary people,” Watson said. “I needed help, the Lord sent the help that I needed.”

WCNC Charlotte reported that Kryst’s family had a private ceremony before the public service, which The Charlotte Observer says was watched by thousands via an online stream.

Simpkins said at the public service that her daughter was “unapologetically herself,” according to The Charlotte Observer.

“Cheslie throughout her life sowed many seeds through her work, her philanthropy, her advocacy, and most importantly, her genuine care for others,” Simpkins said. “I know those seeds will continue to bear fruit for many years.”

The Charlotte Observer also reported that fellow former Miss USA Nia Franklin was in attendance and sang “Give Me Jesus.”

According to the same outlet, LaToya Evans, a spokesperson for Kryst’s family, said at the service that Kryst’s “legacy and her impact will live into perpetuity.” Evans did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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