‘Standout’ Bowdoin student dies from allergic reaction

Omar Osman, who had a severe nut allergy, died just a few months into his freshman year. He is remembered for his kindness and scientific brilliance.

A “standout” student at Bowdoin College died from an allergic reaction this week, just a few months into his freshman year. 

Omar Osman died on the way to the hospital the night of Dec. 3, Bowdoin President Clayton Rose announced in a statement. 

Osman had a severe nut allergy, and was rushed to a hospital after an unexpected exposure, according to a letter written by Jake Langlais, the superintendent of Lewiston (Maine) Public Schools, where Osman attended high school. He died on the way to the hospital as paramedics attempted to save him, Rose said. 

“Omar was a kind soul that made a positive impact on so many people in our community and beyond. His ability to lead by example while his humble personality shined was second to none,” Langlais said. 


Osman was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, to parents of Somali descent, Rose said. He was a first-generation American and first-generation college student. 

While in high school, Osman served as vice president of his class and as a student representative during the pandemic, Langlais said. He excelled in robotics competitions, and was known as a proactive learner who earned top marks. 

At Lewiston High School, Osman was a member of the National Honor Society, the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council, Model United Nations, and Art Club, Rose said. Osman painted various murals at the school, hoping to give it a unique sense of style. 

Osman’s hard work paid off, as he attended Bowdoin on a full scholarship for “being a standout academically, a tireless giver to others, and simply a great young man,” Langlais said. 

At Bowdoin, Osman was active in THRIVE, an initiative for low-income, first-generation students, and students of color, Rose said. The THRIVE program helps students transition to college and provides leadership development and peer mentoring. 

Osman had a passion for science, Rose said. Throughout his three months at Bowdoin, Osman developed an interest in information technology and planned to major in computer science. 


“I want to be someone anyone and everyone can rely on and can know that I will always be there to help,” Osman wrote of his life goals, according to Rose. 

“He was much more than we can articulate. We will miss him,” Langlais said.


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