University of Indiana student Kelly Hackendahl dies

Kelly Hackendahl's senior photo from 2012 at Libertyville High School. (Community High School District 128 / August 29, 2014)

A young woman from Libertyville who was found dead Thursday night in a sorority house at Indiana University was remembered as a generous and positive person.

Kelly Ann Hackendahl, 20, a student at the university's Bloomington campus, was found unresponsive by campus police at the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house shortly before 8 p.m. Police and medical personnel tried to revive her for an hour but were unsuccessful, a university release said.

Nicole Meyer, coroner in Monroe County, Ind., said there were no indications of trauma or foul play.

Hackendahl, a member of the sorority, was a 2012 Libertyville High School graduate working toward a degree in education.

Libertyville High Principal Marina Scott recalled that Hackendahl had been involved in multiple activities at the school, including concert choir, the pompom squad and the Orchesis Dance Company. She was also a member of the Future Business Leaders of America club, Scott said.

“I would say (she was) very positive, school-spirited, focused,” Scott said. “She cared about being involved with her studies and being involved with other students.”

Kelly Angelos, a counselor at Libertyville High, said she was reeling from the news.

During her senior year, Hackendahl was president of student ambassadors, a group that helps ease the transition for transfer students. Angelos worked closely with Hackendahl.

Hackendahl had benefited from the student ambassador program when she transferred in during ninth grade, and she remained involved all four years, Angelos said.

“She was just so genuine and concerned about helping others that, senior year, it was a no-brainer for her to become president,” Angelos said.

She recalled Hackendahl as a student who was equally comfortable engaging school faculty, staff and fellow students in conversation.

“She was just a bright light. … She was just sweet and caring and energetic and involved. That's just who she was. She would just shine through,” Angelos said.

Libertyville school staff are reaching out to members of the choir and dance clubs who may have known Hackendahl to offer counseling, Scott said.

“We offer our condolences to the family,” Scott said. “When something like this happens, I have my principal hat on, but I have my parent hat too. There's nothing worse.”

Laura Sabino, executive director of the Lake County Haven, a Libertyville social service agency for homeless women and children, said Hackendahl would sometimes assist her mother, Jodi Hackendahl, with her extensive volunteer work.

Sabino said she expected the Libertyville community to rally around the family in their time of mourning.

The Hackendahls “are such a wonderful, kindhearted people,” Sabino said. “We're all really shocked and devastated for them because it's such terrible news.”

A message posted on Twitter by the sorority Friday morning read, “Kelly, you brought so much love and light to our chapter and our lives. We will miss you every day. Thanks for all the love and support.

mmrodriguez@tribune.com

gtrotter@tribune.com