Campus celebrates life of Mandeep Bedi, AB'10


Day of remembrance honors alumnus killed in a traffic incident in late August.

By Christina Pillsbury, '13

On September 1 the University community mourned the loss of Mandeep Bedi, AB’10, who died August 25 from injuries sustained in a traffic incident a few days prior. His wife, Elizabeth Bedi, is a fourth-year anthropology student in the College.

Bedi was run down by a female driver with whom Elizabeth engaged in an argument after she merged into traffic on August 19. The couple were rushed to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital. Elizabeth, who was also hit, was treated for her injuries and released. Police are investigating his death as a homicide. He was on his way to campus, where he was a sales intern at the University's IT Services Solutions Center.

In honor of Bedi's senior anthropology thesis that examined American graffiti, students and other members of the community began the day of remembrance by making a graffiti wall on the Bartlett quad. Following the tribute, approximately 150 community members attended a memorial service in Rockefeller Chapel, which concluded with a walk to the Promontory Point, led by Elizabeth.

From the podium at Rockefeller, friends and faculty members remembered Bedi as an active campus community member: As a student he served as a residential computing assistant, helping students and faculty with technological difficulties. Through the student-run organization SPLASH! Chicago, he taught two classes to high-school students—one on the politics of soccer and the other on contemporary freedom of speech. Friends also said his enthusiasm in the South Asian Student Association dance group was contagious.

“He never stopped dancing, ever,” Elizabeth said in her eulogy. “Even now I know he’s dancing.”

Others remembered the always-optimistic Bedi’s intellectualism. One of Bedi's most influential professors, John Kelly was unable to attend, but sent a statement, read by Director of the Anthropology Department Russell Tuttle, “Mandeep reveled in thinking along with other students rather than trying to distinguish himself from everyone else. He had the kind of intelligence that was there to help others.”

Bedi and Elizabeth were married a little less that a year ago.

“The night of Mandeep’s final SASA dance show, I leaned over to my roommate and said, 'I’m going to marry that man,'” Elizabeth said. “Since we met, our life has been a fairy tale.”

She concluded with Bedi’s signature phrase; “B.E.Z. [Be easy] Mandeep, B.E.Z. always.”

September 9, 2011