The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Megan Voorhees
Megan Voorhees
Assistant News Editor

Hi! I’m Megan Voorhees and I’m the Assistant News Editor at The Northwind! I was first introduced to journalism my sophomore year of high school and I’ve been in love with the profession and writing...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Beloved member of NMU Greek life dies in accident

Northern’s Greek community suffered a loss with the sudden death of former NMU student and Alpha Sigma Phi member Mark “Evan” Shepherd at the end of January.

On Jan. 25, 2015, Shepherd, 27, died in a car accident in Fort Myers, Fla. Another car was allegedly involved, according to witnesses, and investigators are still searching for the suspect according to CBS affiliate in southwest Florida, Wink News.

Shepherd graduated from NMU in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic communication. He had been working in Florida as a graphic artist and web developer at I Partner Media, Inc.

The Greek community was shocked at the unexpected passing of Shepherd but are choosing to remember the positives about him rather than dwell on the tragic accident.

Story continues below advertisement

Former NMU student Katherine Baldwin said she had been thinking about the night of his going away party and how much fun they had that night.

Though she does not have a favorite memory, this one stood out for her.

“At one point, Evan dragged me outside and said ‘Katie, look, I’m all packed.’ His car was stuffed full of all of his belongings,” Baldwin said. “I looked at him and said ‘Evan, where are you even going to sit?’ He just looked at me and smiled and said ‘Don’t worry about me, I’m going to go build myself.’ After that he gave me a hug and went back inside.”

With Winterfest approaching on campus this week, NMU graduate Kacy Gould, who has returned to study business, said she remembered a time when his natural zealous personality shined.

“One time, his fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi, was participating in Airband for Winterfest,” Gould said. “They chose to do the song “Circle of Life” from the Lion King and Evan came prancing out painted up like a zebra, and he was the best human masquerading as a zebra that I have or ever will know.”

Gould struggled to choose her favorite memory of Shepherd. She said he was consistently there for her and she has so much to show from their long friendship.

“Trying to whittle our friendship down to one memory or moment that stands out is a herculean effort, because when I think of Evan, I think of a constant force in my life, not just a memory or a moment,” Gould said.

Courtney Verburg, a junior accounting major, shared a similar challenge in narrowing down her time with Shepherd. Some of her favorite times at NMU featured him.

“Evan is one person that I will never forget. There was never a dull moment with him,” Verburg said. “He was always so much fun to be around and every time that we got together we could really be ourselves.”

Gould said she could not have imagined college without Shepherd. To her, they may have met as strangers, but their years of friendship left them as family.

“I have been able to call him a friend, co-worker, roommate and brother over the last seven years,” Gould said. “ We have studied, ate, laughed, partied and volunteered on campus and in the community multiple times.”

Verburg said she has plenty of memories of Shepherd and cherishes each one.

Even when he was acting like his goofy self, she said he was always there to lean on.

“He was the type of person that was always there for you when you were having a hard time or when you just needed someone to talk to at the end of the night,” Verburg said.

Baldwin said every memory of him was special and that picking a favorite one was impossible because he was what made it special.

“He was and still is a very special man,” Baldwin said. “He did great things and I couldn’t be more proud to be his friend and to have known him.”

An on-campus memorial service in honor of Shepherd will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15 in the Huron and Erie rooms of the University Center. The Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, along with Baldwin and Gould, will be hosting the event.

A scholarship through the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools has been started in Shepherd’s name to help a deserving student looking for a future in art. All donations are welcome.

More to Discover