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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Friends mourn beloved sophomore marketing student who died at 20

Javier+Gholston+Mina+loved+musical+theater%2C+singing%2C+acting+and+dancing.+His+obituary+characterizes+him+as+a+born+leader+and+entertainer.
Courtesy of An Ngo
Javier Gholston Mina loved musical theater, singing, acting and dancing. His obituary characterizes him as “a born leader and entertainer.”

Updated Friday, June 21, 2024 at 7:15 a.m.

Sophomore Javier Gholston Mina, a marketing student with a minor in communication and a concentration in international business, died on May 3 in his hometown of Marietta, Georgia. He was 20.

Mina was involved in campus organizations like the GW Undergraduate Consulting Group, GW Fashion Business Association and Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity, where he served as the director of social media. His peers remember him as a high achieving student and caring friend whose spontaneous energy could turn negative moments into positive memories.

“He was the center of attention in the best way, not in any sort of snobby way, and the type of person that’s such a light that everyone is drawn to him,” said rising junior Malinda Murphey, a friend of Mina.

Mina was born on Sept. 24, 2003, in Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated with honors in 2022 from Blessed Trinity Catholic High School north of Atlanta. His hobbies and talents included musical theater, singing, acting, dancing, lifestyle blogging, baking, traveling, reading and SoulCycle, according to his obituary, which characterizes Mina as “a born leader and entertainer.”

Murphey said Mina was one of the first friends she made at GW after he visited her District House affinity during her first year. She said Mina frequently visited her room to check in on her after she tested positive for COVID-19 during her first week on campus and quickly became a familiar face among her floormates.

“Me and one of my friends got little mini Christmas stockings and put little candies and trinkets and everything in it for everyone that lived in the affinity, and we added one for him, because he was such an honorary member from the very beginning,” Murphey said.

Murphey characterized Mina as a “live in the moment” person with a talent of convincing others to take impromptu adventures. She said the pair once ran back to campus in the rain from a day party holding hands and laughing after one of Mina’s spur-of-the-moment ideas to ditch their planned Uber ride.

“It was a mess. We looked a mess. I know we looked crazy,” Murphey said.

Mina served as a social media intern for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, a business leader development mentor at the GW School of Business and as a style specialist for Aritzia at the time of his death. He formerly served as a social media and content creation intern in 2023 for Very Good Light, a brand that focuses on redefining masculinity and male beauty standards through visual and written storytelling.

Murphey said in high school she wasn’t the “belle of the ball” but Mina made her feel like an “it girl” by reminding her that she was admired by many people.

“Being friends with him gave me so much confidence in myself that I don’t think that I had before and that is something that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life,” Murphey said.

Dana Weinstein, the director of audience engagement at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum who worked with Mina during his internship, said he was passionate about using social media to educate people about the Holocaust and that he helped capture videos for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“Javier joined our Museum as a Spring 2024 intern and had immense enthusiasm for the Museum and its mission,” Weinstein said in an email.

Mina participated in art performances at venues like The Mable House Theatre and with a children’s musical theater troupe within Dance it Off, a dance studio in the Atlanta area. Javier also sang in the choir at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, his obituary states.

Alex Lopez, a rising junior at Kennesaw State University and a member of the musical theater troupe, said Mina joined during the fall semester of his senior year of high school. Lopez said Mina sang “Beautiful City” from the 2011 revival of the 1970s musical Godspell on his first day.

“The moment he opened his mouth nobody wanted him to stop,” Lopez said. “I think it’s safe to say that everyone went home and talked about it that night.”

Cathy Lancaster, the principal of Mina’s high school, said he was an “exemplary” student involved in fine arts and student government whose presence lit up the school’s hallways.

“He will forever hold a special place in the hearts of our school community,” Lancaster said.

Catherine Wright, a high school friend of Mina who attends the University of West Florida, said he would go to the volleyball team’s games in high school to support her and her teammates, at times traveling to games with other friends.

“He was a very social person,” Wright said. “He was just the type of person that wanted to do something all day, every day. I don’t think I could ever see him just in a room by himself, doing nothing. He was always out and about, doing something over the weekends, even the weekdays.”

Wright said Mina was a “very sophisticated person” when advocating for social justice issues like gender equality and rights for the LGBTQ+ community.

“I think people should remember that he was a great man that did all these things for his community and truly had beliefs that he thought were true to him,” Wright said. “I think it’s just also a message to check up on people too because even with him, even though it seemed like he was okay, I think it would have been good if someone, or if anyone could have just checked up on him and see how he was doing internally.”

Olin Peterson, a rising junior studying international business, said he met Mina during his first year at GW and could feel the “new energy” that Mina brought to any room he walked into.

“He was a great student,” Peterson said. “He was always actively participating and within our group he took a leadership position and was always reaching out and trying to organize meetings and do all of that kind of stuff.”

Alexandra Tauber, a rising junior and a friend of Mina, said she and Mina took Marketing for Social Impact last fall. She said Mina wanted to “not only succeed,” but to exceed in his academics.

“He would have been a leader in the future,” Tauber said.

Apollo Pascual, a rising junior studying public health, said he first met Mina in the Shenkman dining hall during his first year when he accidentally cut in front of Mina in the omelet bar line. Pascual said he’ll remember Mina’s “beaming smile” which would always brighten up his day.

“Javier had a unique way of making people feel happy and valued just by being himself,” Pascual said in a message.

Rising senior Aijalon Gourrier, who is studying accounting, said she met Mina while out with friends and the two exchanged Instagram handles after she complimented his outfit. She said going to Duquès and Funger Hall since Mina’s death “does not feel the same.”

“Overall, Javier was, and will forever be, someone whose soul touched and inspires me,” Gourrier said in a message.

Sara Beth, a rising junior at the University of Georgia, said she worked with Mina at a local Tropical Smoothie in Marietta, which Mina worked at between May 2020 to March 2021, according to his LinkedIn. She said one of her favorite memories was when Mina mixed all the smoothie ingredients together and created a “gross concoction” on his last day.

“We all just spent the whole shift laughing and giggling,” Beth said in a message. “I hope that other people can brighten people’s days in the way Javier did for me.”

Rising senior Ian McHugh, who is studying economics, said he became Mina’s “big,” or mentor, when Mina joined Alpha Kappa Psi in fall 2022 and that the pair’s friendship became “super tight.” McHugh said Mina had a type of magnetism that attracted people to him, and that he was “dumbfounded” at how many people Mina knew and would strike up a conversation with. 

“He said to me once that he felt safe with me and I wish I had gotten the chance to say the same to him,” McHugh said in a message. “He was always someone I could open up to and be my true self around and I think that those types of friends are something that should be deeply appreciated.”

Mina is survived by his parents, Melondy Mina and Francisco Mina-Villegas, sisters Francesca (Vincent) Mina Consumano and Raquel Mina, aunt and godmother Ines Amalia (Cesar) Mina; aunt Danielle (Tony) Carey, great grandmother Lula Spencer and grandmother Rosa Menafee.

Editor’s Note: If any family members, friends or colleagues of Javier Gholston Mina would like to provide further comment for the story, email The Hatchet at [email protected].

This post was updated to reflect the following:

The Hatchet updated this post to include a comment from Ian McHugh.

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