At service, Mihirtej Boddupalli remembered for intellect, humor

McCormick+senior+Mihirtej+Boddupalli%27s+parents%2C+center+and+right%2C+mourn+as+members+of+the+Northwestern+community+tell+stories+about+their+son+Tuesday+night.+Boddupalli+died+in+a+car+accident+in+July+at+the+age+of+21.

Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

McCormick senior Mihirtej Boddupalli’s parents, center and right, mourn as members of the Northwestern community tell stories about their son Tuesday night. Boddupalli died in a car accident in July at the age of 21.

Tyler Pager, Breaking News Editor

More than 100 Northwestern students gathered Thursday night to remember McCormick senior Mihirtej Boddupalli, sharing stories highlighting his humor and empathy.

The memorial service featured student and faculty speakers and performances from the Brown Sugar and Freshman 15 a capella groups. Boddupalli’s parents and brother attended the service.

Boddupalli was killed in July in an alleged drunk driving accident when a car he was riding in crashed into a water-filled quarry. McCormick senior Michael Szot, the driver of the car, survived, but Boddupalli and the other passenger, Indiana University senior Sajaad Syed, drowned.

Dhruv Boddupalli shared three stories about his brother, each showcasing one of his brother’s memorable qualities: his love of music, his empathy and his intellect.

“Everyday when I wake up,” Dhruv Boddupalli said, “If I hear a song, if I’m walking down the street, if I hear about war in the Middle East or about higher education or racial injustice or finance or engineering, Mihir had something to say about every one of those things because he knew a little bit about every one of those things. He was a deep, deep thinker and I can never get that back. It’s just hard to think like him.” 

The memorial, which was held outside Norris University Center, was organized by McCormick senior Brad Winters, Associated Student Government executive vice president Erik Zorn, Dean of Students Todd Adams and the Chaplain’s Office.

University President Morton Schapiro and Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin were also in attendance.

Winters, who attended high school with Mihir Boddupalli, shared stories from their time on the high school cross country team and as brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Winters said his friend motivated him to apply for a summer research opportunity and apply to NU.

“He did so much for me and with every subsequent step that I take in my life and every achievement I have, I know I will always remember that Mihir was a part of that and he was one of the reasons that was able to happen,” he said.

Telles-Irvin also spoke at the event, passing along stories she heard about Mihir Boddupalli from his friends. After the event, she said the high turnout was evidence of his impact on the community.

“It’s very clear that he’s had an indelible mark on the lives of many, many people,” she told The Daily. “I think the thing that struck me the most was not only his intellect, but more importantly, his empathy and his ability to help people out.”

At the end of the memorial, attendees lit candles and observed a moment of silence.

“I know we’re all sad, but I feel like this is an opportunity to remember the good things about him and the joy that he brought us,” Dhruv Boddupalli said. “I’m very, very proud to call him a brother and I’ll miss looking up to him.”

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