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Northwestern mourns the death of MSC student Shengxuan (Will) Ma

Following is a message to members of the School of Communication community from SoC Dean E. Patrick Johnson and Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, vice president for Student Affairs, upon news of the passing of student Shengxuan (Will) Ma.

Dear School of Communication community,

We are writing to share heartbreaking news: Shengxuan (Will) Ma, a student in the Master of Science in Communication (MSC) program, has passed away. 

Randall Iden, one of Will’s professors, was gracious enough to share the following remembrance:

“Shengxuan (Will) Ma was a student in both my Perspectives on Communication and Dialogic Decision-Making classes. He was a model student who added greatly to classroom discussion with sensitive and perceptive comments. His written work was intelligent and thoughtful.

He was a gentle and kind person who was generous with his time and counsel. He showed concern for his fellow students, and they have told me how interested he was in their well-being.”

Professor Randall Iden on Shengxuan (Will) Ma

“He was a gentle and kind person who was generous with his time and counsel. He showed concern for his fellow students, and they have told me how interested he was in their well-being,” Randall said. “He was also a partner in a small business and talked often about using his Northwestern education to improve the communication aspects of the business. Although I only knew Will for five weeks, I was very fond of him and looked forward to seeing the kind of student, professional, and person he would become. His death is a tragedy for all of us in the MSC. We will miss him.”

Please keep Will, his family and his friends in your hearts and thoughts. To the students, faculty and staff in the MSC program, we are so sorry for this profound loss. The SoC and our University are rallying around you in support. To those outside of the program who were connected with Will and have been touched by his kindness, our community grieves his loss with you, and we are here for you, too.

Losing a member of our community affects each of us differently, and we strongly encourage the use of our wonderful campus counseling services. If you feel you would benefit from assistance, please reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at 847-491-2151, or the Dean of Students Office at 847-491-8430. Students, faculty and staff can also connect with the Chaplain’s staff at 847-491-7256, and staff have access to benefits through the Employee Assistance Program.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

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