Northwestern hosts memorial for Mohammed Ramzan
  • A student recites verses from Sūrah Yāʾ-Sīn, the 36th chapter of the Quran that deals with death and the afterlife, at a candlelight vigil for Weinberg freshman Mohammed Ramzan. Mohammed died Monday after falling off a boat during club crew team practice.
  • McCormick freshman Maytham Alzayer, a member of the mens club crew team, speaks about his teammate at Mohammed's memorial. “May Allah grant you your rightful place in heaven,” Alzayer said at the service. “May he place you next to the very prophet you are named after.”
  • Associate Chaplain Tahera Ahmad, known to Mohammed as “Sister T,” addresses Mohammed's family during the memorial. She told them Mohammed embodied mercy and was merciful to everyone he met.
Photos by Justin Curto / North by Northwestern

Mohammed Ramzan, or “Mo,” as he was known by many, had many intersecting identities. At his memorial service in a packed Lutkin Hall Wednesday night, about 400 students, faculty and community members looked on as people who knew him discussed these many identities. His mentor from the Muslim-Cultural Students Association (McSA) talked about him as a person of faith, a teammate talked about him as a fellow crew member and a member of Rainbow Alliance talked about him as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

However, there were several characteristics everyone brought up when speaking about Mohammed: most notably, his generosity, his grace and his kindness. Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin said that although she didn’t know Mohammed personally, his impact on the community was clear.

“Mohammed was lovely and gentle, and he touched everyone he knew,” Telles-Irvin said. “He will forever be a part of the Northwestern community. He is everything we aspire to be – gracious and generous. His spirit and his smile will be missed.”

On campus, Mohammed was involved in the QuestBridge Scholars Program, the Freshman Urban program and McSA. He was studying a pre-med track in hopes of becoming a doctor at an LGBTQ+ hospital one day to research AIDS/HIV. Before coming to Northwestern, he participated in BioEXCEL, a five-week summer program for aspiring biology majors interested in promoting diversity.

“Northwestern students have many ways of measuring themselves, through test scores or GPA,” Dr. Luke Flores, who oversees the BioEXCEL program, said. “Mohammed was kind, and that’s the best thing a person can be.”

Mohammed, who was from Auburn, Washington, passed away earlier this week after falling overboard during a crew practice. His teammate, McCormick freshman Maytham Alzayer, discussed the devastating impact Mohammed’s death has had on the team.

“People see us a team, but what they don’t see us for is a family,” Alzayer said. “The bonds we create are deeper than our careers. The loss of Mohammed, our brother, has left us broken. We will remember him as one of the most lovely, dedicated members of our family. Mohammed, thank you for everything. May you rest in peace.”


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