An American university student killed in the Paris terror attacks was remembered by family, friends and faculty at California State University Long Beach. Hundreds of people flooded a ballroom on campus to hold a memorial and vigil for twenty-three year old Nohemi Gonzalez. Her teachers and friends described her as outgoing, funny and energetic.
“[She was] the most spirited little firecracker -- just such a little spark plug -- really terrific -- great little designer. [She was] just an amazing, amazing woman. She was going to set the world on fire,” said classmate Deborah Green.
One of her professors, David Teubner, remembered Gonzalez as a hard working person who also mentored other students.
“Energetic, bubbly, warm, wonderful, and crazy – she was really crazy. She was funny,” said Teubner.
Gonzalez was a university senior and a design student at California State University Long Beach. She was attending Strate College of Design in a semester abroad program in France. She was at a restaurant in Paris during the terrorist attacks and was killed. Teubner said France was her great adventure.
“She sent me an email last week telling me how much she was enjoying it over there, how much she was learning,” said Teubner.
Classmates described Gonzalez as a hard worker and always eager to help other students. Those close to Gonzalez called her Mimi. Speaking for a family still in shock, her stepfather, Jose Hernandez, said she and her mother Beatriz were the best of friends.
“Mimi is right here. Mimi is in Beatriz’s heart today, tomorrow and forever,” said Hernandez.
Holding back tears, Gonzalez’s boyfriend, Tim Mraz, also spoke at the memorial to a room packed with people.
“She would have loved this and hated this at the same time, because she wasn't one to love all that attention,” said Mraz.
In a candlelight vigil following the memorial many of her friends and classmates found comfort in each other as they remember a young woman with a take charge kind of personality and a big heart.
At least 129 people died in the Paris attacks and more than 350 were injured.