By Rachel Morford, news staff
Friends and family mourned the passing of rising third-year Northeastern student Mohamed Bazzi this past week, his loss resonating across campuses and continents. Bazzi died in a canoeing accident on the night of Saturday, July 2 in Littleton, Mass., local authorities reported. He was 21.
“I’m never going to meet another prankster like Bazzi,” Basel Khabaz, Bazzi’s childhood friend, said. “He was the life of the party. Whenever he was around, there was nothing but joy and laughter.”
Born in Lebanon, Bazzi attended the American International School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. After graduating in 2012, Bazzi enrolled at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. One semester later, Bazzi transferred to Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business where, according to Dean Hugh Courtney, he pursued a degree in business administration with a dual concentration in supply chain management and marketing. He was set to start his second co-op at multinational consulting firm Deloitte later this month.
According to Khabaz, Bazzi became interested in supply chain management after an internship with the Riyadh branch of Nestle in Saudi Arabia.
Although his time at Behrend was brief, friends said Bazzi’s impact cannot be overstated. Bazzi pledged with fraternity Sigma Tau Gamma, and was elected president of his pledge class. Andrew Dylewski, who served under Bazzi as the pledge class vice president, said that people were naturally drawn to Bazzi.
“He never let anything get him down,” Dylewski said. “Even when things were at their worst he was the one who would know just what to say to get you through or to make you smile. I don’t know how many times I would look at him in total disbelief and think to myself,‘If Bazzi can do this while XYZ is going on I can do it too.’”
Many of his friends said that Bazzi had a knack for making friends. Behrend classmate Milton Sibanda became good friends with Bazzi after a spontaneous soccer match, a favorite pastime of Bazzi’s.
“All of our friends are devastated,” Sibanda said. “We plan on going to Erie where we met him and we’re going to go to the beach. That was one of his favorite spots in Erie. And we’re going to do that for him. Because he did so much for us.”
“I’m never going to meet another prankster like Bazzi,” Khabaz said. “He was the life of the party. Whenever he was around, there was nothing but joy and laughter.”
Sebastian Saad, Bazzi’s sophomore year roommate, said that Bazzi brought a sense of hilarity to the living space they shared.
“Bazzi always liked to be so spontaneous and buy the craziest pets,” Saad said. “When we were moving in, he told me he wanted to buy a pet. I told him, ‘Just don’t buy a snake, they scare me too much,’ and he said okay. A few days later I walk into the apartment while he was in his room, I sit down in the living room and I hear him laughing and snickering in his room. He comes out with his hand behind his back and the biggest smile on his face. When he pulls out his hand and there is a snake wrapped around it – and I freak out. But the best part is that he named the snake after me.”
Bazzi’s fondness for exotic pets was a sentiment echoed by his peers at Behrend.
“One of my favorite Bazzi stories is how he ordered an alligator off the internet and kept it hidden in his dorm,” Dylewski said. “You never knew what the next adventure was going to be.”
Loved ones remember Bazzi as the kind of person who brought people together.
“Bazzi had so much love, that’s what makes him unique,” said Vanessa Zoghbi, who attended the British International School near Bazzi’s. “He included everyone all the time through jokes. He always had our attention…not because he wanted to entertain, but because he genuinely wanted everyone to be happy. He was the glue in a huge group of friends.”
Bazzi is survived by his mother Sana Bazzi, his father Hisham Bazzi and sisters Haya, Noura and Sarah.
Grief counseling is available for Northeastern students through University Health and Counseling Services and WeCare.
Photo courtesy Milton Sibanda