After tragedy, a Kennesaw State mom turns pain into purpose

KSU bus

[This article by Amanda Cook first appeared on the Kennesaw State University website, republished with permission]

For a parent, there could never be a worse tragedy than losing a child. It’s an intense, deep pain that Diane Davis, the mother of late Kennesaw State University student Tarik Kindell, can never escape, but now Ms. Davis is turning her pain into purpose.

With tears streaming down her face and her voice cracking, Ms. Davis paused and took a deep breath to gather her strength. She began to explain why creating an endowment for Kennesaw State in her son’s honor was not only important to her, but also instrumental in the healing process.

“Tarik was an amazing young man,” Ms. Davis said. “He was really funny and friendly. He cared about people and spent a lot of his time volunteering to help others. If you saw him, you noticed a book in his hand. He loved to read and write. His goal was to help educate young kids and encourage them to read and write more.”

Tarik, a computer science major in the College of Computing and Software Engineering, was about to graduate. His goal was to be an engineer, but his passions also included comedy and writing stories.

On Memorial Day weekend in 2021, Tarik Kindell was driving home. Ms. Davis was monitoring his progress through a tracking app. When the app showed Tarik’s phone had stopped moving, Ms. Davis said her mother’s intuition spiked and she jumped in her car to go find her son.

“I saw his car first and then the police lights,” Ms. Davis said.

According to Ms. Davis, Tarik’s car was hit by another driver going in the wrong direction on the highway. They were both killed instantly.

Tarik’s aunt, Nydia Davis, said his dad, Rodney Kindell, the entire family, and friends have surrounded Diane to support her and each other. They all jumped in when Ms. Davis decided she wanted to honor her son by fundraising to create a scholarship. The family helped create a website page dedicated to the life and memory of Tarik as well as links on how to donate to the fundraising campaign.

“He just loved Kennesaw State and the campus,” Ms. Davis said. “I know he would want me to help support young adults pursue whatever their dreams may be. I want Tarik’s name and his legacy to live on.”

Ms. Davis has committed $75,000 to Kennesaw State to establish the Tarik I. Kindell Memorial Scholarship to support CCSE students. The ceremony of his parents giving the endowment check to Kennesaw State is on Sept. 21 – the day Tarik was born.

“I grew up in Harlem, New York,” Ms. Davis said. “But on the 21st of September 1998, God gave me Tarik. I prayed for a boy and Tarik changed my life. He made me want to be a better person and to provide the best life I could provide him. Every single day, I tried to make him happy and take care of him. So, Sept. 21 will always be the best day of my life because that’s the day Tarik came into it. By giving this scholarship money to Kennesaw State on this date, it will continue to be my best day.”