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A long ignored NIU Pi Kappa Phi hazing tragedy

Now listed on this site’s Hazing Deaths page

1960

Pi Kappa Phi

Northern Illinois University (Dekalb, IL)

Fatality following unsanctioned pledge party (auto accident)

Alcohol had been provided to pledges and members at an unsanctioned NIU party prior to a horrific collision at 100 mph of a Greyhound bus and speeding, out-of-control 1957 convertible. The force of the impact disintegrated the vehicle into more than 100 pieces and made identification of bodies difficult. Four died in the accident that included one pledge and four senior members in the car. (The bus driver was unhurt, and no passengers were on board). Killed instantly were Harry Lamphier, Jr., 24, freshman William Gustafson, 18, William Kempfer, 19. John Pauls, 19, died later at a hospital. The driver who lived was Raymond Uramkin, a junior, age 20 then and now 80 as of 2019. Three chapter officers faced charges of providing the alcohol, including Dean Schneck.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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