University Law School employee dies at age 49 after battling liver cancer

by Jamie VanGeest

Law School employee Fatima Velagic died of liver cancer Aug. 9. She was 49.

Velagic came to the United States seven years ago with her two sons after her husband was murdered in Bosnia and started working at the Law School as a principal accounts specialist six years ago.

“We all miss her a lot at the law school, and we definitely miss her now that she has passed away,” said Law School senior accountant Mary Swenson.

The Fatima Velagic Trust was set up by the Law School after Velagic was diagnosed with liver cancer in the spring. All of the money raised is going to help support her two sons, Veldan Velagic, who will be a senior in the fall at Bloomington Kennedy High School, in Bloomington, Minn., and Vernes Velagic, a University sophomore.

Fund-raisers and private donations raised approximately $12,000, but donations have declined recently, said Pam Wilson, Velagic’s friend and supervisor.

A service was held Aug. 10 in Columbia Heights, Minn., at the Columbia Heights Mosque.

In the future, the Law School also plans to hold a memorial service for Fatima Velagic. Staff members at the Law School wish to use the service to recognize what Fatima Velagic did for the Law School, Wilson said.

“I give her credit for how she came to America and how she took care of herself and her boys,” said Shashi Gupta, who sat next to Fatima Velagic in their office for six years.

Donations are still being accepted through the Fatima Velagic Trust. Condolence cards can be sent to her two sons at the same address.