Early Friday morning, the University community lost an active member: Joshua Brigham, a rising LSA senior studying psychology.
Brigham, who fatally fell through the glass roof of Nickels Arcade, was originally from Saugatuck, Michigan and attended Hamilton High School where he was a competitive soccer player.
Brigham’s passion for sports continued during his time at the University, where he played intramural basketball and soccer for his fraternity, Chi Phi.
Known for his outgoing and personable charisma, Brigham was also social chair of his fraternity for two semesters. In an e-mail interview with The Michigan Daily, Nathan Shi, a rising LSA senior who was Brigham’s friend and fraternity brother, remembers his ability to make those around him happy.
“He was the kind of guy that if you were having an off day, would come into the room and be so energetic that you just had to get up and be energetic too,” Shi said. “He was always cracking jokes and trying to lighten the mood. It was nice, given that college gets pretty stressful at times. He was always smiling and trying to make things positive, even when they seemed pretty bleak or bland.”
Alec Buchholtz, a rising LSA senior, said Brigham was his best friend, recalling his uplifting spirit.
“He was one of the best people to be around and just made everyone happier — made everyone laugh. He had this unbeatable smile that made you smile,” Buchholtz said.
Brigham was passionate about serving others, particularly children. For several years, he worked as a Special Olympics coach with his father, encouraging children with disabilities to play sports. Brigham also participated in child psychology research at the University and was scheduled to work this summer at Camp Kesem, a camp on the University’s campus dedicated to providing support for children with parents suffering from cancer.
Rising LSA senior Brendan May said Brigham had aspirations of working with children as a future career.
“I know he definitely wanted to work with kids when he graduated and was older. That was his passion,” May said.
In a statement released to media outlets, Laura Blake Jones, Dean of Students at the University, expressed the administration’s grief and support.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss. Our condolences go out to his family and friends,” Blake said.
The administration has been reaching out to students, especially Brigham’s close friends, to make sure they are aware of the University’s resources, such as Counseling and Psychological Services.
May said although he and his friends will grieve this summer, they will forever remember Brigham for the positive impact he made on their lives.
“When we get back to school, we’re not going to remember Josh for what happened last Thursday night/Friday morning. We’re going to remember him for the lives he’s touched — the hearts he’s impacted.”
To honor Brigham’s memory, several community members have placed flowers and notes on the floor of Nickels Arcade.
Brigham is survived by parents Joe Brigham and Michelle Leiterman and a younger sister, Sam.