Members of the Northwestern community gathered at the Rock on Wednesday to honor Dmitri Teplov, the McCormick sophomore who died on Sunday.
University Chaplain Tim Stevens opened the service by inviting those in attendance to remember and unite together.
"Whether we knew Dmitri well or casually, we are deeply affected," Stevens said. Following Stevens' statement, members of the Northwestern community offered prayers across a variety of faith practices.
Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, expressed condolences on behalf of the University, including President Schapiro, who was out of the country. Telles-Irvin encouraged students to "find strength in each other and take heart in giving your love and support to others."
Dmitri was honored by those who spoke for his intelligence, his dry sense of humor and his eagerness to learn.
"Dmitri may not have been the biggest personality in the room, but he was the one with the biggest curiosity," said Joe Holtgreive, an assistant dean in McCormick. Holtgreive spoke about the void left in the community by Dmitri's death.
ASG President Ani Ajith spoke to those gathered about the emotions felt by the community at this time, ranging from sorrow to guilt and fear. He urged students to talk to those around them, inquiring about one another's health and well-being each day. The microphone was then left open for friends and professors of Dmitri to speak.
Dmitri's mother then addressed those in attendance, speaking to how "touched" she was by the support shown by the Northwestern community.
"I see now that he was not alone here. He was surrounded by sweet kids, amazing teachers and a supportive administration," she said.
Alex Van Atta, ASG executive vice president, then invited those gathered to pray while the Northwestern Community Ensemble sang a religious song. After that, attendees were encouraged to paint the Rock with messages to honor Dmitri. A reception was held in the Guild Lounge in Scott Hall immediately after the service.
"Dmitri will be remembered here with warmth, concern and admiration," Telles-Irvin said.
McCormick sophomores Vince Cericola and Ryan Schiller paused earlier on Wednesday to remember someone they called a friend. The death of Dmitri Teplov on Sunday surprised many, including the two of them.
Cericola and Schiller said their friendship was borne out of hours of class with Dmitri. Cericola, a chemical engineering student like Dmitri, said they would sometimes spend all day together doing homework, including weekly problem sets that often took close to 12 hours to complete.
Schiller remembers Dmitri would sometimes be puzzled when they weren’t done with the problems – not in malice, he said. Dmitri just used to forget some people’s brains didn’t work as fast as his.
Schiller and Cericola said they remembered how smart Dmitri was. He did most of the work in his head that other students took pages and pages to work out.
“He would just get it,” Cericola said.
Dmitri loved Calvin and Hobbes. “It was an unconditional love,” Cericola said. “It was one of the few things he wasn’t sarcastic about.”
The Dmitri they remember was always laughing, according to Cericola. “Everything out of his mouth was either a joke or an explanation of something.”
Schiller agreed. “I’ll just always remember the lunches we had. He’d always be laughing, either at something he found funny or laughing at how horrible Orgo was,” he said. “One way or another, he always had a smile on.”