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"[Caroline] lived and breathed style and fashion, and from where I stood, there was never a moment of doubt that she would achieve a successful career in the field,” Abby Smith, BC ’18, said.

Caroline Montgomery, a senior at Barnard College, died in a mudslide in California on Tuesday, according to an email sent to the Barnard community by Dean of the College Avis Hinkson. She was 22 years old.

Heavy rainfall early Tuesday morning triggered mudslides and flooding in Santa Barbara County. At least 17 people, including Montgomery’s father, were killed. More than a dozen people are still unaccounted for and search teams are still combing the area for survivors, according to the Associated Press.

Montgomery, a California native, studied psychology, was a member of Hoot Magazine, a contributor to Bwog, and a member of the club team Columbia Women’s Water Polo. Off campus, Montgomery was active in the fashion scene and held internships and positions at Coterique, Topshop, Nylon, and KITH.

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Friends of Montgomery described her as passionate about her work and full of life.

Those close to Montgomery said she will be remembered as a positive influence on campus and in the world of fashion.

“[Caroline] worked harder in pursuit of her dreams than anyone else. She lived and breathed style and fashion, and from where I stood, there was never a moment of doubt that she would achieve a successful career in the field,” Abby Smith, BC ’18, said.

Montgomery inspired many with her energy and enthusiasm, friends said.

“Carol was so, so hardworking and put all of herself into everything she did, especially her friendships and relationships with her family. So many people are feeling this loss so deeply, and will miss the way Caroline’s lively spirit would brighten any room or mood. Those close to Carol feel so lucky to have known and learned from her, and will strive to be more like her in her absence,” Sarah Breen, BC ’18, said.

A listening session to support those impacted by Montgomery’s death will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 16 in the Dean’s Office from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Read the full email from Hinkson below.

Dear Members of Barnard Community,

It is with deep sadness that I share the news of the passing of Caroline Montgomery, a Barnard senior, who was killed along with her father, Mark Montgomery, in the devastating mudslides affecting the Santa Barbara, California area.

Caroline was a psychology major who also had a passion for fashion. Throughout her time as a student, she held internships and positions at Coterique, Topshop Topman, NYLON, and recently served as a buying intern at KITH. Caroline also enjoyed writing and was a contributor to Hoot Magazine, Barnard’s well-known fashion publication, and, in 2015, was a contributor to Bwog, the blog for Columbia’s Blue and White Magazine. Additionally, Caroline was a member of the Columbia University Women’s Water Polo Club team.

Students who are in need of support or counseling, please do not hesitate to reach out to family, friends, or your Residential Life staff. The staff members in the Furman Counseling Center (, 212-854-2092) and Dean of Studies office (, 212-854-2024) are also available either in person or by phone. As many of you have not returned to campus yet, we will be holding a listening session on Tuesday, January 16 in the Dean’s Office from 7-9 p.m. (105 Milbank Hall) for those who wish to gather.

We join with all members of the Barnard and Columbia community in mourning this tragic loss, and extend our deepest condolences to Caroline’s family and friends.

In sympathy,

Avis Hinkson

Dean of the College | @aubriruth

Caroline Montgomery
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