In Memoriam: Christopher Weigl '11

In Memoriam: Christopher Weigl '11

December 7, 2012

Skidmore graduate Christopher Weigl '11, "a clarinet-playing Eagle Scout eager to tell stories with his camera," died Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, from injuries sustained in a traffic accident in Boston, Mass. He was bicycling to a class at Boston University, where he was a graduate student in the College of Communications, with a goal of majoring in photojournalism.

Although his major was English, photography became his calling—"the passion that drove almost every activity I pursued," he said in an essay that accompanied a portfolio published on the Skidmore web site last March.

He consistently earned high honors at Skidmore and was also active as president of the campus photography club, photo editor of The Skidmore News, and freelance photographer. For three years he worked with Skidmore's Office of Communications, where he handled a number of photography assignments. Patricia Wright, visual resources coordinator for the office, said, "Chris became our strongest and most reliable photographer on staff. When we sent him on assignment, we knew that he would give us good-quality photos that met or exceeded our requirements." The office nominated Chris for Student Employee of the Year in 2011. Chris won the 2008 People's Choice Award for "Ethereal," his entry in the CTM Photo Contest. 

Chris spent a semester in Florence, Italy, where he focused exclusively on photography and began to consider a career in photojournalism, noting that it would "combine my major and my passion for photography—a perfect fit."

English Professor Tom Lewis remembers Chris this way: "Chris was in my senior seminar in the fall of 2010. He was a joy to have in a seminar, always contributing astute and shrewd comments and coming up with imaginative readings. And he had such a wonderful twinkle in his eyes, always. He had so much promise, and that's what stings the most about this loss."

During his last semester at Skidmore, Chris realized that a traditional job and regular work environment did not appeal to him so he applied to Operation Groundswell, a Toronto-based organization blending travel with volunteer work. He took an ecology trip to Thailand and Cambodia, where he cleaned and fed elephants, "built toilets, taught English, and picked up trash." Skidmore featured a collection of his photos from that trip in an online portfolio last spring.

Chris's own web site showcases photographs ranging from events to spot news, including a recent picture of President Barack Obama campaigning in New Hampshire.

In September Chris enrolled at Boston University, where he soon became known for his friendly demeanor and his talent. In a Boston Globe column by Brian McGrory, BU Professor Mitchell Zuckoff called Chris "the ideal student: smart, mature, curious, in school for all the right reasons…. He was a terrific young man who would have made a spectacular photojournalist."

In BU Today, the online university newsletter, Sarah Ganzhorn, a fellow graduate student in the photojournalism program, called Chris "a great guy. He was always smiling. He was just a really chill guy who never had anything negative to say about anything." Ganzhorn produced a multimedia presentation about Chris for a class assignment that is posted at the top of this story.

Chris was born in Framingham, Mass., and lived most of his life in Southborough. He is survived by his parents, Bonnie and Andy Weigl, and his brother, Dustin. A memorial service is scheduled Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, in Holliston, Mass. Please click here for details.

Click here for his video student profile.

Tags: , Boston University, Tom Lewis, The Skidmore News, Christopher Weigl, Alumni
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