University Announces Death of Second-Year Niv Sparkes

A reception for Sparkes, who passed away over the weekend, will take place in Campus North Residential Commons on Tuesday, April 18.


By Eric Fang

The University announced this afternoon that Niv Sparkes, a second-year in the College, had passed away.

In an email to members of the College community, Deans John Boyer and Jay Ellison wrote, “We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his family, his fellow students and all other members of our community affected by this loss.”

The initial email did not provide additional information about the time or circumstances of Sparkes’s death, though a subsequent email from Boyer and Ellison sent Monday morning confirmed that he had “passed away over the weekend.”

The second email confirmed that a reception for Sparkes’s friends and family would be taking place on Tuesday, April 18, from 5:30–7 p.m. in the Resident Deans East Commons on the second floor of Campus North Residential Commons.

Sunday’s email encouraged community members affected by Sparkes’s death to reach out to Student Wellness counselors, who are available at the UChicago Student Wellness Center at 840 East 59th Street. Students can book an appointment by calling (773) 834–9355. Walk-ins are also accepted between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A clinician can be reached by calling (773) 702–3625 at any time.

Other campus and city resources can be accessed by calling the Dean-on-Call via the University of Chicago Police Department at (773) 702–8181.

“This is an extremely difficult time, and we hope that all members of the College community support one another as we navigate this tragedy together,” the email read. “Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out for help.”

Kehillah, an RSO dedicated to celebrating Israeli culture, announced on Instagram that it would be hosting a separate reception and dinner with UChicago Hillel in honor of Sparkes, a Kehillah board member. The event will be held on Monday, April 17, at 8 p.m. in the foyer of the Hillel building on South Woodlawn Avenue.

“When we founded the organization, Niv, being Israeli, quickly became an indispensable leader in our events. He served on our board since our founding and was very passionate about his Israeli identity,” Kehillah copresident Aaron Wineberg wrote in a statement to The Maroon. “We want to invite anyone who wants to honor his life and heal together.”

Editor’s note: We hope to follow up on this article with an obituary memorializing Niv’s life and his time as a member of the University community. We ask anyone who has memories they want to share to contact us at

Update, April 16, 9:24 p.m.: This article was updated to include details of the Kehillah reception and a quote from Wineberg.

Update, April 17, 4:50 p.m.: This article was updated with the news that Sparkes died over the weekend and with details of the College-hosted reception scheduled for Tuesday, April 18.

Michael McClure contributed reporting.