In memory: Djibril Diol, 1990-2020

Djibril Diol
Djibril Diol

Honoring an outstanding engineering graduate

Djibril Diol immigrated to the United States from Senegal to pursue college studies, and he fulfilled his goal at Colorado State University in December 2018, when he was recognized as an outstanding graduate of the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.

With his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, Diol started work for Kiewit Corp. and brought his wife and toddler daughter from West Africa to join him at their new home in northeast Denver.

A few months later, in August 2020, the family perished in a horrific overnight house fire. Those who died were Diol, 29; his wife, Adja Diol, 23; their daughter, Khadija, 2; his sister, Hassan Diol, 25; and her baby, Hawa Baye.

The Senegalese community in Denver and those who knew Diol on campus grieved the tragic losses.

Authorities mounted a complex multiagency investigation. In January, three teenagers were arrested on suspicion of arson and murder; their court cases are ongoing in Denver.

Friends of Diol, known as Jibby, said he was devoted to his family and his new career in civil engineering. He excitedly sent videos to his wife before her arrival in Denver.

Diol worked as a Kiewit field engineer on an Interstate 70 project. He had considered pursuing a graduate degree and dreamed of one day using his engineering knowledge to improve infrastructure in rural Senegal. While attending CSU, Diol completed a summer internship for Larimer County, inspecting unpaved roads and sidewalks.

“He was just a great person all around,” said Ousman Ba, a CSU alumnus in international studies who was a close friend of Diol during their time on campus. “He was a loving, joyful person who just enjoyed life and was a really good friend, a leader, a brother.”

Diol was a first-generation college student and was active on campus, especially with the CSU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. He attended the society’s national convention during his senior year to represent Colorado State and meet other engineers.

When he was named an outstanding graduate in December 2018, about two years before his death, Diol said he had been motivated to contribute to his family and the world.

“I always want to make an impact wherever I go,” he said at the time. “In the bigger picture, patience and perseverance will make the right things happen.”