Campus community mourns loss of student Rayan Bokhari

Nearly 200 members of the Valparaiso University campus community gathered Aug. 29 in remembrance of Rayan Bokhari, who died while swimming in Lake Michigan the day before.

Bokhari, a sophomore from Saudi Arabia, was visiting Porter Beach with a group of friends when he was caught up suddenly in a riptide and carried away before he could be rescued.

Faculty, staff and students processed with lit candles from the Harre Union to the Chapel of the Resurrection, where they held a silent vigil in the candlelight.

A memorial dinner also was held by Bokhari’s family Tuesday in the Office of International Programs, where Bokhari’s brother and sister were joined and supported by members of the campus community. His brother, Nawaf, is an INTERLINK student at Valpo, and Bokhari’s sister, Razan, is a graduate student.

Holly Singh, director of international students and scholars at Valpo, said Bokhari , a business major, was a very peaceful person.

“He was a very mild person, a nice person and a calm person,” Singh said.” He was a good musician, and that probably had to do a lot with his personality.”

A memorial service is being planned for later this month when Bokhari’s family members return from Saudi Arabia.