Loved ones remember Kenzie Krogh as selfless friend, resilient student

Maddie Burakoff and Yvonne Kim

Not long before her 21st birthday, Carlie Cope was window shopping at a stationery and gift shop with Kenzie Krogh, one of her closest friends.

“She remembered every single thing that I pointed out, went back, bought it for me and gifted it to me for my birthday,” Cope said. “It was the most generous, thoughtful gift. And that wasn’t a one-time thing — that’s just who she was.”

Cope, a Weinberg junior, described Krogh as a selfless friend who “remembered little things about everybody.”

Krogh, a 20-year-old SESP junior from Durham, North Carolina, died Sunday morning with her family at her side at Saint Francis Hospital a day after being taken there by her friends. A cause of death has yet to be determined, but foul play is not suspected, police said.

Friends and family described Krogh as a deeply kind, generous and passionate person. In a Tuesday statement, her family said Krogh “was the light in her parents’ lives, and that light spread to all her family and friends who were lucky enough to have loved her.”

Danielle Hojnicki, who had been friends with Krogh since before Wildcat Welcome, described her as someone who “loved to love people.” Krogh was the “mom” figure of her friend group, Hojnicki said, and always provided for others.

“She was always super selfless in how she interacted with people,” the Weinberg junior said. “If she could buy you lunch, she would take that opportunity. If she could give you a little gift, she would.”

Krogh was also a driven person, Hojnicki said, constantly working to improve herself and make a difference in the world. The two would often reminisce about how much they had grown since freshman year and dream about the future of being “strong, independent women,” she said, and Krogh had been excited for her upcoming summer internship at Deloitte.

In their statement, Krogh’s family members also remembered her hardworking nature.

“Integrity, justice and an incredibly hard work ethic were some of the most important ideals Kenzie lived by,” her family said in the statement. “Her mind was always reaching to find new avenues of learning and discovery, especially when it came to social issues.”

Tina Zheng, a close friend, said Krogh was always “trying to build a future for herself.” Zheng said she was constantly “on top of everything,” going through internship recruitment all of Fall Quarter and was constantly driven to learn and improve. And even after she accepted the internship, complete with a party her friends threw in her apartment with streamers (green, for Deloitte), she “didn’t back down,” Zheng said.

This winter, Krogh began working as a research assistant at NU’s Relationships and Motivation Lab.

Lydia Emery, a lab manager who had been a teaching assistant in one of Krogh’s classes, said in a report about her experience with Krogh that she was “blown away by her intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for research,” according to Psychology and Kellogg Prof. Eli Finkel. Emery offered her the position at the lab, which she noted in the report she has almost never done without a full application.

Finkel, head of RAMLAB, told The Daily in an email that Krogh was brilliant, energetic and fun as the newest addition to the lab.

“She offered astute observations regarding the studies we’re conducting this quarter and in a wide-ranging discussion of the #MeToo movement,” Finkel said. “I was so delighted to have her in the lab; I’m staggered and heartbroken that she’s gone.”

Krogh had also worked as a teaching assistant for the Kellogg School of Management and was already working on an honors thesis, according to her family’s statement. The statement said Krogh was passionate about women’s issues and had worked with reproductive rights group Lady Parts Justice League during the summer. In lieu of flowers, Krogh’s family is asking people to consider donating to the Chicago Foundation for Women.

But despite her extensive accomplishments and drive, Cope said Krogh’s priority was her friends and family.

“Kenzie was exceptional in so many ways: in her devotion to her family and friends, her love of animals, and her ability to multi-task and succeed with whatever she put her mind to,” her family said. “Kenzie had a deep and rich relationship with a close group of friends and faculty and was loved by all who knew her.”

Cope and Zheng said they remembered Krogh having an extremely close relationship with her father. She was happy to host and feed her friends, insisted on calling Ubers for them late at night and always cared about them before herself: It was always, “Let’s talk about you first,” Cope said.

Even in difficult times, Hojnicki said Krogh was her “rock.”

“She was always asking if I was okay, what my mental state was at that moment, how my week’s been,” Zheng agreed. “And she’d always text me if she saw something that reminded her of me.”

Hojnicki said Krogh was a welcoming presence for anyone who met her.

For Rachel Wolfe, a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority who rushed as a sophomore transfer, going through recruitment with Krogh helped make her initial Greek experience easier and special. Wolfe described Krogh, who later deactivated from the sorority, as a “very warm” person.

“Kenzie was just so outgoing and friendly,” Wolfe said. “She wanted to be making friends, really genuinely, not just wanting to get to know people for the sake of (it).”

Krogh had a knack for making every experience feel special, Cope said. She would cater even the smallest things, like borrowing a shirt, to her friends and never failed to give without expecting anything in return.

“I’ve never seen such kindness radiating from a person in my life,” she said. “She was incredible. I would say this even if she was still here, but she was one of the best people that I knew.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @madsburk

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @yvonnekimm