Northwestern student found dead in Evanston apartment

    Updated 8/4/10, 4:09 p.m. CST.

    Weinberg sophomore James Obremski was found dead in his Evanston apartment on Friday, Dean of Students Burgwell Howard said in an e-mail to students.

    A representative of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said the death has been ruled a suicide.

    The 22-year-old Obremski worked for four years at WNUR 89.3 FM, Northwestern’s student-run radio station, where he hosted “The Expansion Experiment,” an avant-garde music program.

    There will be a memorial ceremony for James Obremski on Sunday, August 8, at 2 p.m., in the auditorium of St. John’s Prep, his high school in Danvers, Mass.

    Doug Kaplan, a friend and the former general manager of WNUR, remembered Obremski as a fervent music lover with a vast knowledge of genres and styles. He liked everything from the Monkees to “harsh, synthesized noise,” and “he was always watching and listening to new things every day,” Kaplan said. Obremski’s favorites: Orange Juice, a twee pop band active in the 1980s, and the punk group Mission of Burma.

    “He was just such a brilliant person,” Kaplan, a Communication senior, said.

    Obremski served for a quarter as programming director for the radio station, and dedicated himself to teaching freshmen how to produce shows. “James played a very strong role” in the training of new DJs, said Paul Riismandel, the staff adviser to WNUR.

    Kaplan heard about Obremski’s death on Friday when a friend forwarded him the e-mail from Howard. Numerous students have reported not receiving the e-mail.

    Friends from WNUR and family will hold a private gathering this evening to commemorate Obremski.


    The following is the e-mail sent from Dean of Students Burgwell Howard the evening of Friday, July 30, 2010.

    Dear Members of the Northwestern Community:

    I am saddened to report that a Northwestern undergraduate student, James Obremski, 22, was found dead in his apartment in Evanston on Friday, July 30, 2010. The cause of death has not yet been determined and is under investigation by the Evanston Police Department with assistance from University Police. There is no indication of any danger or threat to other members of the Northwestern community.

    James was a sophomore in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences from Danvers, MA.

    On behalf of the University, I extend our condolences to James’ family and his friends. We always feel deeply the loss of a member of our Northwestern community.

    Staff members from Counseling and Psychological Services (847-491-2151 or 847-491-8100 after hours) and the University Chaplain’s office are available for members of the community seeking support.

    Again, we offer our profound sympathy to James’ family and to his fellow students. We join them in mourning the loss of a member of the Northwestern family.

    Burgwell J. Howard
    Dean of Students


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