First-year University of Victoria student Roja Omidbakhsh was one of 176 victims killed in the Tehran air crash on January 8, 2020. (LinkedIn photo)

First-year University of Victoria student Roja Omidbakhsh was one of 176 victims killed in the Tehran air crash on January 8, 2020. (LinkedIn photo)

University of Victoria marks first anniversary of Iran plane crash

UVic student Roja Omidbakhsh was one of 176 passengers killed

It’s been one year since 176 Ukrainian Airline passengers were shot out of the sky above Iran, including University of Victoria student Roja Omidbakhsh.

Omidbakhsh was in her first year of a bachelor of commerce degree and is remembered as a positive student with “a keen interest in marketing” by one of her professors, Mark Colgate.

“A very promising young UVic student, with a very bright future ahead, was among those who were killed,” UVic president Kevin Hall said in a video statement Friday to mark the one year anniversary.

READ ALSO: First-year UVic student among the 176 victims of Iran plane crash

“On behalf of the entire UVic community, I offer our heartfelt thoughts to the impacted families, friends and communities,” he said.

Last year, the university established an Iranian student memorial scholarship to honour Omidbakhsh and the 175 other people whose lives were lost. Each year, one undergraduate and one graduate student who are Iran citizens or have Iranian ancestry will receive the $500 scholarship.

“It will be a reason for students to go back and learn what happened. And it will remind Iranian students that they are part of a community that cares,” said Saeed Rezvani, president of the UVic Iranian Students Association.

Across B.C., 15 people with ties to the province, including doctors, academics, students, couples and family members, died in the Jan. 8 flight. Over 100 of the victims had ties to Canada.

Initially, the Iranian government denied shooting down the plane but later said it was mistaken for a missile. Recently, the government pledged to pay $150,000 to each victim’s family.

REALTED: 5 nations want Iran to deliver justice on downed plane


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

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