Michael “Mike” Mullins, ’18, died on July 1, 2017 after suffering from an asthma attack.
Mullins was from Swedesboro, New Jersey, and studied chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Joseph’s University.
Mullins was an active presence on campus. He was the treasurer of the Malloy Chemical Society; a work study student in the Faith Justice Institute in Saint Thomas Hall; president of the SJU Film Club; and pledge assistant and vice president of membership on the Executive Board in the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega (APO).
“There was something about Mike’s personality that truly lit up a room as soon as he entered, and it was contagious,” said Paige Colver, ’18, president of the Saint Joseph’s chapter of APO, in an email correspondence. “He showed so much passion for service to others, always went out of his way to help and brought smiles to those around him.”
Colver also pointed to Mullins’ role in establishing the APO chapter at Saint Joseph’s as a mark of his genuine love of service to others.
“He was one of the most selfless people that I knew and I am so honored to have been able to know him both as a friend and as a board member,” Colver said. “Over these past two years, Alpha Phi Omega has played such a large role in my life and without him, the chapter and I would not be where we are today. He truly was a beacon of light in my life and will be missed greatly.”
Mark Forman, Ph.D., chemistry department chair, offered sympathy on behalf of the chemistry department.
“We here in the department of chemistry are shocked and saddened to hear of Mike’s sudden passing,” Forman wrote in an email correspondence. “He had a very bright future ahead of him, and he will be dearly missed by faculty, fellow students and others in the department.”
José Cerda, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, had Mullins as a student in four courses and fondly remembers Mullins’ kind words before and after classes.
“During the last semester, on occasions after class he would affectionately say “see you tomorrow Dr. Cerda” which would always make me respond with a smile because it was a reminder that he was among a group of students that were taking classes with me every day,” Cerda said in an email correspondence.
When Cerda learned of Mullins’ passing, he said that he could not stop thinking of him and his charismatic interactions with other classmates.
“I know that he was very friendly with his classmates and that they loved him –they are a pretty close group of chemistry students,” Cerda said. “Mike was a great conversation starter, before and after each class, Mike and his classmates would easily spend five to 10 minutes talking with me about different topics with him making funny remarks and witty observations.”
Elizabeth Norberg, special projects assistant in the Faith-Justice Institute, worked with Mullins in the Faith-Justice Institute and remembers Mullins as always having an optimistic and friendly presence.
“I was always excited to see Michael,” Norberg said. “He was such a gentle soul, so genuine, kind and sincere. Michaels always had a smile and bear hug ready to make your day. No matter how good your day was going, he left you feeling better.”
Blaire Adkins, ’18, considered Mullins’ one of her best friends. Adkins and Mullins met while attending Paul VI High School (PVI) and both looked forward to going to the same university together.
“Mike and I always joked around and said we went from being a PVI Eagle to an SJU Hawk,” Adkins said.
Adkins recalled that Mullins enjoyed life to its fullest, but also that she admired his work ethic, caring personality and his willingness to always help others.
“Mike literally would drop anything in the world for his family and friends,” Adkins said. “He loved helping others, and loved doing service events. He would come to the diabetes walk with my friends and I every year just because I had diabetes. He was a genuine friend and literally was always there for me.”
Adkins also recalled when Mullins drove her to the hospital when she was ill during her freshman year because it is a testament to his altruism.
“I remember one time freshman year I got really sick and had to be taken to the hospital and I texted Mike that I was sick and he’s like ‘okay, I’m coming down and I’ll drive you to the hospital’ without hesitation and then he stayed there with me and my roommate until I was with a doctor,” Adkins said.
Adkins knows she will miss Mullins, but feels his spirit will always be with her.
“Mike will definitely be missed on Hawk Hill but I know he’s with the Class of ’18 in spirit,” Adkins said. “I truly miss Mike, but I’ll carry his spirit with me.”
A funeral mass will be held at 1 p.m. on July 10 at St. Michael’s Church in Gibbstown, New Jersey. A post on Mullins’ Facebook page noted that eulogies will be shared beginning at 12 noon. In lieu of flowers, family members are also asking that people make donations to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America or to St. Joe’s Alpha Phi Omega chapter, the post stated.
Colver said that the best way people can honor Mullins is to continue to partake in service.
“He will be greatly missed and always remembered,” Colver said. “We will continue to do service in his memory as he walks beside us in our hearts.”
Update: This article was updated on July 11, 2017 to include quotes from José Cerda, Ph.D., professor of chemistry.