The Westmont community mourns the loss of alumnus Davies Kabogoza ’16, who died April 29 while stand-up paddle boarding in the Santa Barbara Harbor. The 30-year-old from Uganda earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and worked as a physical therapy aide at Hayashida Physical Therapy.
“The entire Westmont family is grief-stricken in the loss of Davies,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “He was a wonderful part of our community and had just graduated this past year. He returned to campus this fall to tell his story of perseverance and tenacity in overcoming almost impossible odds to come to America and to attend and graduate from Westmont. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Kabogoza played on the Westmont men’s soccer team in 2013 and 2015, and he spoke at Westmont’s Orientation in August.
His inspiring story of coming to Santa Barbara has been well documented in news stories and blogs. In Uganda, Kabogoza joined the Sports Outreach Institute when he was 18, where he met Westmont alumna Vicky Harbison ’78, a Santa Barbara teacher and founder of Turn the Page Uganda, which brings books to students and teachers in northern Uganda. She and her husband, Jeff, arranged to have Kabogoza flown to the U.S., and he began attending classes and playing soccer at Santa Barbara City College in 2012.
He was a fashion model for Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M and Emporio Armani, coached soccer at Laguna Blanca School and served as media planner for Turn the Page Uganda. He regularly attended Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara.