Vigil for Virgil Mongozid to be held Oct. 13


Molly Birch/NW

STUDENTS’ LIVES – Student gather in front of the Wildcat statue on April. 8, 2022 in honor of NMU student, Jayden Hill. The protests in support of mental health and vigils following Hill’s death were organized by students.

Katarina Rothhorn

Students, staff and community members will gather tomorrow by the Wildcat statue to honor the life of fellow student Virgil Mongozid. Mongozid was reported missing on Thursday, Sept. 22 and found dead on Sunday, Sept. 25, in his truck on US-41 in Baraga County.

According to an email sent out by the President’s Office on Sept. 26, Mongozid was an 18-year-old freshman majoring in automotive maintenance.

The vigil held in his honor on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m., will provide a space to recognize his life.

“We are planning on doing a moment of silence and then leaving it open to the people who come,” said Freya Dufner, RA in Meyland Hall and one of the organizers of the vigil. “If they want to share memories, if they just want to hang out with other people who knew him – it is really whatever the community needs.”

Mongozid’s former suitemate, Tom Rapp, came up with the idea of organizing a vigil for him and is hoping the community comes out to support each other.

“He was Virgil’s suitemate, and he came to me sometime last week and said this was something that he wanted to put on,” Dufner said. “He thought it would be a great way to honor him, to remember him.”

Dufner has organized for candles to surround the Wildcat statue at the time of the vigil. Students can also bring their own candles, but they will be collected at the end of the vigil and stored in RD Simon Moesch’s office. Those who would like to keep the candles can pick up the candles from his office before Thanksgiving break.

Others are invited to bring their own memorabilia to the vigil, or simply bring memories and respect.

“Just make sure you’re respectful,” Dufner said. “This is really a time to honor his life, and I just want to make sure everyone comes and is respectful.”