Three international students enrolled at the University of Ottawa were among the 176 passengers killed when Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 crashed near Tehran on Wednesday, the school has confirmed.
Mehraban Badiei Ardestani was pursuing her undergraduate studies in the faculty of health sciences, according to a statement sent by a university spokesperson.
Graduate student Saeed Kadkhodazadeh Kashani was working towards a PhD in chemistry in the faculty of science.
Alma Oladi, also a graduate student in the faculty of science, was completing a PhD in mathematics.
“Our international students are a vital part of the uOttawa community and it is with heavy hearts that we mourn their loss,” Jacques Frémont, the University of Ottawa’s president and vice-chancellor, said in the statement.
“We would like to express our sincerest condolences to their loved ones, to those who worked with them on campus, and to the broader Iranian community.
“We are heartbroken and they will be dearly missed.”
The university had previously confirmed on Wednesday that three of its students were among the dead but didn’t release their names until late Thursday. A spokesperson for uOttawa could not confirm their ages.
A non-religious memorial ceremony will be held at the university’s main campus downtown on Friday afternoon, hosted by the school, the Iranian Student Association of the University of Ottawa and the Nowruz Student Association.
Books of condolence and counselling services will be available at the ceremony, the statement from uOttawa said.
The ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. at the Agora of the University Centre and all members of the community are invited, the school said.
The event will also be streamed on uOttawa’s Facebook page.
The school said its flag on the main campus has been lowered to half-mast “to honour our three students, and all the victims of the crash.”
Students and staff who knew Oladi turned her desk into a makeshift memorial on Wednesday, with white flowers and cards placed next to a picture of her signature smile.
“She always had this smile on her face,” Mohsen Zandimoghadam, a friend of Oladi’s, told The Canadian Press on Wednesday.
“She was a nice and kind girl, she always wanted to explore places and discover new things in life and new places. She had so many plans for her life in Canada.”
Carleton University also lost two members of its community in the Iran plane crash.
The school confirmed on Wednesday that biology PhD student Fareed Arasteh and university alumnus Mansour Pourjam were on board the plane.
Global News has also confirmed that Alireza Pey, an Ottawa CEO and father of two, died in the crash.
-With files from The Canadian Press