In Memoriam: Valery Fala, S.J.

It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the news of the sudden passing of our friend, USF graduate student, and member of the university’s Jesuit community, Mr. Valery (Ngong Ekem) Fala, of the Society of Jesus.

Valery, a Jesuit scholastic, was 33 when he died late Friday afternoon, April 26, 2024. He would have celebrated his 34th birthday on April 28. Originally from Bamenda, in the northwest region of Cameroon, he entered the Jesuits on Sept. 10, 2016 and joined the USF community in 2022. At USF, he was enrolled in a double degree program on his way to earn a master’s in environmental management in the College of Arts and Sciences and an MBA in the School of Management. He also served as a graduate Jesuit fellow in the Lane Center and was actively engaged in University Ministry.

His colleagues, fellow students, professors, brother Jesuits, and friends will remember him for his warm and friendly smile, his joyful presence, and his great kindness. Prior to coming to USF, he worked in the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat in the General Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome from 2020 to July 2022.

Last year, he was featured in a USF News story about his academic work with David Saah, professor of environmental science and director of the Geospatial Analysis Lab at USF. Valery used the tool Earth Engine to identify and measure heat islands or sites of warming in the United States. After that, he measured heat islands in Cameroon. After graduation next year, he told USF News, he intended to return to Africa and join a team to do ecological sustainability work in the Congo Basin.

His brothers in the Jesuit Community related that about a month ago, he was having concerns about his lungs and doctors thought that he was suffering from pneumonia. When lung cancer was more recently diagnosed, he was in the process of determining a course of treatment when his condition worsened and his heart failed.

May he rest in peace.

On Sunday, May 5, the student liturgy at 7 p.m. in St. Ignatius Church will be offered for Valery. Dónal Godfrey, S.J. will preside, and Emmanuel Kaparasa, S.J. will concelebrate. All are welcome.


Angélica Quiñónez, EdD
Director of University Ministry