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In Memoriam

In memoriam is a page to read featured obituaries of Northwestern alumni, faculty and staff. Visit Remembrances to read memorials of Northwestern community members submitted by their family or peers. Please send obituaries to

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Dan L. Burk

Dan L. Burk ’87 MS, Irvine, Calif., Feb. 4, 2024, at age 61. An expert in technology law, including intellectual property, gene patenting, digital copyright and more, Burk was a founding faculty member of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law (UCI Law), where he was Distinguished and Chancellor’s Professor of Law and faculty director of the AI Global Public Policy Institute. Burk studied molecular biology and biochemistry at Northwestern and became interested in the intersection of law and science after learning of the first criminal conviction in the U.S. based on DNA profiling evidence, in 1987. He received two Fulbright Scholarships, in 2011 and 2017, and he was selected for a Leverhulme visitorship to the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2015. Burk taught intellectual property law at Bocconi University in Milan, the University of Toronto, Sciences Po in Paris, the University of Haifa and Humboldt University of Berlin. Before joining UCI Law, Burk taught at the University of Minnesota Law School and Seton Hall University School of Law. Burk is survived by his wife, Laurie, and his daughter, Rayne.  

Photo Credit: UCI Law 

John Kezdy

John Kezdy ’88, Highland Park, Ill., Aug. 26, 2023, at age 64. Kezdy was best known as the vocalist of the Chicago punk rock band the Effigies. Born in Belgium, Kezdy moved to Evanston with his family when he was 3 years old. He attended Evanston Township High School and then the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but he left in 1980, after one year, to join the Effigies, one of Chicago’s first punk bands. Kezdy enrolled at Northwestern and graduated in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in English. The Effigies broke up in 1990, and Kezdy earned his law degree from DePaul University in 1991. He spent several years as a prosecutor in Kankakee, Ill., and went on to work in the Illinois attorney general’s office. Kezdy revived the Effigies in 2004, and the band released two albums and an EP. Kezdy was among those injured in the mass shooting during Highland Park’s Independence Day Parade in 2022. He is survived by his wife, Erica; children Lena and Lucas; and a brother, Andre. 

Ivan Menezes

Ivan Menezes ’85 MBA, London, June 7, 2023, at age 63. The longtime chief executive of Diageo, Menezes helped grow the company into a global frontrunner in the alcoholic beverage industry. Born in India, Menezes worked for Whirlpool, Booz Allen Hamilton and Nestlé before joining Diageo at the time of its founding in 1997. He became Diageo’s CEO in 2013. He had planned to retire from that role at the end of June 2023. Under Menezes’ leadership, Diageo expanded its portfolio — which contains more than 200 brands, including Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Captain Morgan. Menezes is credited with cutting Diageo’s carbon emissions in half. He also worked to improve diversity and inclusion, hiring women and ethnically diverse executives into leadership roles. The company ranks No. 2 globally in gender equality, according to Equileap’s 2023 Gender Equality Report. Menezes also chaired Movement to Work, a collaboration among United Kingdom businesses, government, labor unions and charities that aims to provide job opportunities for young people (ages 16 to 30) who are facing barriers to employment. He was a member of the Kellogg School of Management’s Global Advisory Board. Menezes — a citizen of the U.K., U.S. and India — was knighted in January by King Charles III for his business achievements and commitment to gender and racial equality. He is survived by his wife, Shibani; a daughter, Rohini ’10, ’17 MBA; a son, Nikhil; two brothers; and one sister. 

Photo Credit: Diageo

Edmund W. Chang

Edmund W. Chang ’80, West Newton, Mass., Aug. 18, 2022, at age 64. Whether it was work, independent projects, design competitions or teaching, Chang never lost his passion for architecture and design. After graduating from Northwestern with a degree in American studies, he worked as a designer for an architectural firm before attending the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He later moved to Los Angeles and worked as an architect while also teaching at the University of Southern California. In 1990 he and his then partner, former Harvard classmate Roger Sherman, won a design competition for the West Hollywood Civic Center in Los Angeles. In 1992 he started Chang and Sylligardos Architects with his wife, Susan Sylligardos. They relocated to the Boston area and worked on residential and institutional projects for Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In Newton, Mass., Chang designed City Hall’s Millennium Park and worked on an urban design committee for the area. Chang, who retired in 2021, is survived by his wife; his son, Alexander; his mother, Edith; his sister, Phyllis; and his brother, Laurence.

Valerie Boyd

Valerie Boyd ’85, Atlanta, Feb. 12, 2022, at age 58. An associate professor at the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Boyd wrote the well-regarded biography Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. Boyd first discovered the Harlem Renaissance writer’s work in an African American studies class at Northwestern. She spent several years as arts editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before she began teaching in 2004. Boyd was named the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Grady College in 2007 and was director of the Giving Voice to the Voiceless Program. In 2017 she received a Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities, and later this year she will be inducted into Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. Her most recent book project, Gathering Blossoms Under Fire, The Journals of Alice Walker 1965–2000, will be published this year. Her anthology Bigger Than Bravery: Black Writers on the Pandemic, Shutdown and Uprising of 2020 is also scheduled for publication. She is survived by two brothers. 

Photo Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Akbar Virmani

Akbar Virmani ’80 MA, ’96 PhD, Glenview, Ill., Dec. 1, 2020, at age 64. Virmani was born in Uganda to parents of Indian descent. The family settled in the United States in 1973 after South Asians were forcibly displaced from Uganda. Virmani came to Northwestern for graduate study in political science. As assistant and associate director of Northwestern’s Program of African Studies from 1986 to 2003, Virmani administered research programs and maintained PAS’s alumni and international ties. He also taught and mentored graduate and undergraduate students.

Henry D. Bullock

Henry D. Bullock ’80 MBA, Palo Alto, Calif., July 9, at age 63. A commercial real estate expert, Bullock co-founded Menlo Equities, which invests in corporate office campuses in high-demand, technology-driven markets. Its first investment was Apple’s original headquarters. He began his career at Wells Fargo in San Francisco and later became a managing partner at the Shidler Group. In support of Northwestern, Bullock served as the inaugural chair of the Kellogg Cornerstone Circle and volunteered for Kellogg School of Management admissions, the school’s campaign committee and his reunion committee. Bullock was an avid golfer who believed in living every day to its fullest. He is survived by his companion, Sonia; a son, Benjamin; a daughter, Christine Bullock Wendell ’17 MBA; a grandson, Brooks; his mother, Mary; siblings Page, Sarah and Madelene; and the mother of his children, Terri.