The University of Iowa

Community remembers Mogni at vigil

April 20th, 2015

By Nick Moffit, The Daily Iowan

As friends and family came to the podium to tell stories and remember the life of Andrew Mogni, there were a few characteristics that were commonly echoed: happiness, kindness, and charisma.

Roughly 500 people filled the IMU second-floor Ballroom to celebrate Mogni’s life at a vigil on Sunday evening.

The stories told by family, friends, and UI officials painted a picture of Mogni that brought both laughter and tears to those who attended.

Sigma Nu President Mark Parise gave an opening statement reflecting on the feelings around the room.

“We hurt this much,” he told the crowd. “Because we lost that much.”

Mogni died on April 5, 2015, 80 days after he suffered a 40-foot fall in Rome while studying abroad at John Cabot University in Italy.

The 20-year-old Glen Ellyn, Illinois, native was a third-year UI student in the Tippie College of Business.

His father, Benjamin Mogni, said from the moment he visited the UI, it became his second home. 
“Iowa was such a special place for Andrew,” he said. “He came and visited and came home and said — that’s where I’m going.”

Benjamin Mogni said his son felt at home here because people were nice, friendly, and most importantly, happy.

From the stories of many speakers, the clearest thing was that Andrew Mogni valued was everyone’s happiness.

One Sigma Nu brother and UI student reflected on something Andrew did that improved his life every single day when he lived in the fraternity house.

Mogni made it a goal to make him smile every day, and the student said, whether it was a joke or prank, it had an impact on his life.

His older brother, Ben Mogni, spoke during the vigil about what made Andrew Mogni so cared for: his ability to make anyone happy and the charisma no matter the situation.

He told a story of childhood mischief, where Ben was 14 and Andrew, 11. The duo set out to construct a PVC potato gun, because as kids, it was pretty cool.

The story ended with Andrew’s smile and charisma saving the day. 

“Andrew had this charisma about him; he played it off as it was absolutely nothing,” Ben Mogni said.

Another UI student told a story about “the compliment game” or another way Mogni spent time in a joking manner making people happy.

“We would roll down my windows and yell at people walking down the street,” she said. “We loved yelling at the couples who would always be holding hands. Andrew would yell at the top of his lungs, ‘You make a great couple,’ and a lot of people actually flipped us off.”

She said things like that defined who Mogni was.

“He just had such an open personality, and was so kind, and so funny,” she said.

Others spoke about his passion for music, no matter what time of day.

He constantly played his ukulele, and one student recalled a moment, in which he was running around the Sigma Nu house, wearing jorts and belting out songs while strumming along the small instrument at an odd time during the day.

She said it indicated the carefree, happy nature Mogni could bring to any situation.

Benjamin Mogni said the way anyone can remember his son is to make an effort to make a person happy.

“If you make someone else smile, or someone makes you smile, just make a note of it.”

Parise said despite how hard it can be to get in front of a mike, he was happy so many shared stories during the vigil.

“Everything that was told was the embodiment of Andrew.”