Eight ND, SMC students lost in four years

Fifth year student Xavier Murphy died Tuesday October 11, 2011 after a short battle with Leukemia. Murphy was a student manager for the football team and is remembered by those close to him for his energy and infectious smile. His story caused the men of Zahm to start the “Raise an X for X” campaign and hold blood drives in his honor.

Two students died in unrelated cases in 2012. Saint Mary’s sophomore Ziqi Zhang died on October 18, 2012 from injuries caused by a collision between her bike and an SUV outside of Saint Mary’s entrance on State Road 933. A resident of Jiangsu Province in China, Zhang was a dual-degree student at Saint Mary’s who also took engineering classes at Notre Dame.

First year master’s student Michael Thigpen, aged 23, died on the morning of Nov. 13 at his off-campus residence. Thigpen was professional musician who is remembered by his loved ones for his caring nature and desire to help people.

In 2013, Connor Sorensen died on Dec. 20 after a lifelong battle with lung diseases among other health-related issues. Sorensen, who graduated early despite his deteriorating health, was described by his friends as relentless and motivated to find cures for diseases due to his personal experiences.

In 2014, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s lost two students. Akash Sharma, a third year Ph.D. student in chemical and biomolecular engineering, died Jan. 1. Sharma was from India and served as a teaching assistant in several courses.

Saint Mary’s first-year Madelyn Stephenson died Jan. 3 while driving southbound on U.S. 31 when her car was hit on the driver’s side by a semi-tractor. Friends and family described her as a shy, smart girl with a passion for learning Arabic.

In the spring of 2015, Notre Dame lost two students. Sophomore Daniel Kim was found dead in his off-campus residence on the afternoon of Feb. 6, 2015. Kim, a New Jersey native, was a business student and former fencer. His friends remember him as humorous and academically involved.

Senior and finance major Lisa Yang died on March 3, 2015 after what was ruled a suicide by the St. Joseph County Coroner’s Office. Yang was a resident of McGlinn Hall. Friends said Yang had a distinctive laugh and was naturally good at anything she tried.


Photo: Kevin Song