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October 7, 2013

Endicott student was MBTA crash victim

BEVERLY — The woman struck and killed by an MBTA train at Prides Crossing last week has been identified as Asaki Nishiyama, a 22-year-old student at Endicott College.

There has been no ruling on the manner of death from the state medical officer. An investigation by the MBTA and the district attorney’s office is ongoing. The Wednesday incident sparked widespread service delays while riders were transferred to buses to travel to and from Cape Ann.

“I know this announcement affects all of us deeply,” Endicott College President Richard Wylie said Friday in a message to the community, “and I want to encourage our students, parents, faculty and staff to support each other as we process Asaki’s passing. I know we are a strong community, kind and respectful, and that will be important in the coming days.”

Nishiyama, 22, was said to be walking near the tracks when she was struck. A Japanese national, she was a photographer and a major in creative/fine arts due to graduate at the end of the school year. She arrived at Endicott for the fall term in 2010, according to Joanne Waldner, assistant to the president.

Waldner added that Nishiyama was part of a population including several Asian students, that she was well traveled and fluent in English. Her death has been a blow to the Endicott community.

“Both the students and the faculty are taking it hard,” she said. “Our counselors and our chaplains are all very busy.”

A memorial service at the school for students and staff is to be scheduled. Nishiyama’s parents, communicating with the college, have asked for privacy.

In a statement, Wylie remembered Nishiyama as someone interested in world cultures and willing to share her experiences on a local radio broadcast. “She wanted to help other students become more internationally involved and raise awareness about the life-changing diversity of the world around us,” he said.

In a story from last February about an art therapy exhibit, Nishiyama told the Salem News, sister paper to the Times, spoke of art therapy’s “great potential to heal the many wounds that exist in this world.”

In 2011 she was a prime mover in getting proceeds from the college chorus’ last concert donated to victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Nishiyama was a member of the chorus.

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