From The Cornell Daily Sun


The Cornell Daily Sun, April 19, 2016

Sophie MacLeod ’14 Dies After Battle With Depression

By Josh Girsky

Sophie MacLeod ’14 died the weekend of March 25 from a prescription drug overdose while on medical leave from Cornell after a long battle with depression. She was 23.

“Many of you will remember Sophie as a vibrant young artist, a talented violinist, and a young woman with a unique global background and perspective,” said Dean Kent Kleinman in an email sent to students and faculty in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning. “We mark her untimely passing with sorrow.”

The daughter of American foreign correspondents, MacLeod was born in Johannesburg and lived in South Africa and France before attending high school at Cairo American College in Egypt, where she was a member of the national honor society, sang in the choir and played violin in the orchestra, according to her father Scott MacLeod.

At Cornell, MacLeod studied Fine Arts in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning and brought a unique perspective to her studies, according to the email.

In addition to her studies at Cornell, Sophie also worked at the dessert bar at Madeline’s restaurant for a year and a half and at Argos Inn, where she was affectionately known as “the chemist” for her “craft cocktail concoctions,” according to MacLeod.

Rachel Donohue, a high school friend of MacLeod remembers how passionate MacLeod was.

“One of the biggest characteristics I really loved about her was how passionate she could get in how much she loved her friends or her family or even greek yogurt,” Donohue said.

Donohue remembers specifically how much MacLeod loved baking.

“It was artwork when she baked anything. Everything looked like it should come out of a magazine,” she said.

Aliana Heffernan ’14, said that after meeting MacLeod when they lived together in Risley Hall, MacLeod’s became one of her best friends.

“She had such a creative mind, from her photography to her cooking,” Heffernan said. “Sophie just had a certain way of seeing things. She also had the weirdest sense of humor, but she could always crack me up even if I was absolutely miserable. Her creativity and her off-color humor, that’s what I’ll miss most.”

Her father added that most of her friends believed Sophie would succeed in her battle with depression.

“It was a struggle she was determined to win, and nobody around her doubted that she would do so,” he said. “She touched the hearts of everyone in her intersecting circles of friends, mentors and family members, who she loved dearly and who so dearly loved her.”

The MacLeod family has established The Sophie Fund under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, which will help support the fight against mental illness in young people, according to the fund’s website.

Her father said Sophie will be remembered for her many wonderful qualities including her “sweet smile” and her “unwavering attachment to friends.”

“Much much too short, Sophie’s was a wonderful life,” her father said.

University Resources: Members of the Cornell community seeking spport can called Gannett Health Services’ Counseling and Psychological Services (607-255-3277), the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (607-255-2673), the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or find additional resources at


From the Ithaca Journal

Ithaca Journal, April 9, 2016

1992 – 2016 Obituary Condolences

Sophie Hack MacLeod, age 23, died in Ithaca, NY, on Saturday, March 26, 2016. She was on medical leave from Cornell University, and was an employee of Argos Inn in Ithaca. Sophie was born in Johannesburg on August 23, 1992.

As the offspring of two American foreign correspondents, she spent her childhood living overseas, first in South Africa, then France, and eventually Egypt. She spoke French and Arabic as well as English. Her lifelong involvement in the creative arts included 15 years as a violin student in the Suzuki Method, 11 of them in the Cairo Opera House Youth Talent Development Program; she performed in many concerts in Paris, Cairo, and Ithaca, including a solo performance at the Cairo Opera House.

Sophie graduated in 2010 from Cairo American College, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, performed in the school orchestra, sang in the choir, played water polo, soccer, and volleyball, and served as class vice president. At CAC, she participated in school trips to Russia, Spain, and Vietnam; she counted knitting caps for the children’s cancer hospital in Cairo as one of her most fulfilling experiences.

Earlier, Sophie was an elementary and middle school student at the Lycée Français du Caire, and earned a brown belt in karate in the school’s martial arts program. In 2010, she enrolled as a Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate in Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and lived in the Risley Residential College. She excelled in artistic media from painting and drawing to photography and printing.

While at Cornell Sophie’s zest for baking and her distinctive creative talent merged into a professional pursuit in the culinary arts; for one of her first sculpture assignments she created a gingerbread house in the form of an ornate mosque. She ran the dessert counter at Madeline’s Restaurant in Ithaca for a year and a half, and was exploring a career as a pastry chef and bakery owner after completing her degree at Cornell. She was working on a cookbook about craft cocktails provisionally entitled The Prep: Handbook of Spells, Hexes, and Poisons. Sophie also operated an online vintage clothing business, EerieVintage.

With her prodigious appetite for life, Sophie enriched the lives and touched the hearts of everyone in her intersecting circles of friends and mentors in Ithaca and far beyond. She will be remembered for her fierce independence; her defense of justice and equality especially for those marginalized by society; her unwavering attachment to friends; her quirky and mischievous manner; her sweet smile and laugh; her original sense of style; her fondness for Ithaca and its vibrant restaurant scene, farmer’s market, and organic grocery stores; and her devotion to Bagel, her beloved cat.

Sophie is survived by her parents, Scott MacLeod and Susan Hack, of Cairo, Egypt; her grandparents Melvin and Rosalinda Hack, of Chicago, IL; her uncle Andrew MacLeod, of St. Simon’s Island, GA.; her aunt and uncle Laurie and Walter “Skip” Knoll, of Erie, PA; and her cousin Rachel Schneider, of Pittsburgh, PA. She was preceded in death by her grandparents Robert MacLeod, of Coraopolis, PA and Jeanne MacLeod, of Erie, PA.

Friends may call at the Burton Westlake Funeral Home, 3801 West 26th Street, Erie, PA on Friday, April 15, from 6-9 p.m., and are invited to attend a service celebrating Sophie’s life at Lakewood United Methodist Church, 3856 West 10th Street, Erie, PA on Saturday, April 16, at 12 Noon. Interment will be at Laurel Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made by check payable to the “Community Foundation of Tompkins County,” 200 East Buffalo Street, Suite 202, Ithaca, NY 14850. Contributions should be designated for the “Sophie Fund,” which will be used to support mental health services for young people in Ithaca. For more information, contact the Community Foundation at (607) 272 9333 or by email