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Student killed after getting into car she thought was Uber honored with degree

Samantha Josephson was a political science major with plans to attend law school.
/ Source: TODAY

The University of South Carolina has given a posthumous degree to the family of Samantha Josephson, who was stabbed to death in March after she got into a car she mistakenly thought was an Uber.

Josephson, who was 21 at the time of her death, was a political science major with plans to attend law school at Drexel University, the New York Daily News reported.

Nathaniel David Rowland, 24, was arrested on kidnapping and murder charges for killing Josephson.

During the University of South Carolina’s commencement ceremony Saturday, USC President Harris Pastides set aside time to speak about Josephson.

Samantha Josephson
An empty chair in Samantha Josephson's honor was set up at the University of South Carolina's graduation.Gavin McIntyre /

“I’d like to take a moment to recognize and honor the life and legacy of Samantha Josephson, our cherished 21-year-old senior political science major whose life was tragically taken from us in March,” he said in a video that was posted on The State.

Josephson’s family attended the graduation, where Pastides also said a seat was left empty in the front row in her memory, as well as the memories of other people in the South Carolina community who died over the last year.

Pastides also reinforced the need for all people to be cautious when using a ride-share service.

“Fellow Gamecocks, Class of 2019, we must ensure that what happened to Samantha never happens again to any college student or indeed to any person,” Pastides said. “Asking ‘What’s my name?’ before getting in a ride-share vehicle will save lives and must become as automatic to you and to me as buckling our seat belt when we get behind the wheel of a car.”

Pastides then requested the graduating class repeat after him when he said, “What’s my name? My name is Samantha Josephson.”

In the wake of her death, Uber took steps to protect riders who use the ride-share service, including safety notifications and alerts reminding passengers to check the license plate, make and model of the car they ordered, as well as a picture and name of the driver.