Sophomore remembered for love of sports, politics

Business student William Cuva died Dec. 17.

Despite spending merely one semester at MU, sophomore William Cuva always felt at home on campus. From the friends he made at his fraternity, Sigma Pi, to the students and professors he met, the university was always a welcome place for him, his father, Martin Cuva, said.

“At orientation most universities say, ‘You’re lucky we picked you,’ but at Missouri they said, ‘We’re lucky to have you as part of the Mizzou family,’ ” Cuva said. “He truly made it his home.”

William Cuva, of Urbana, Ill., died Dec. 17 at University Hospital after jumping from Hitt Street Garage. He transferred from Parkland College in Illinois to MU before the fall semester and was enrolled as a business student.

While attending Urbana High School, Mr. Cuva held the positions of starting quarterback and captain on the high school football team.

“Will was an intelligent quarterback and a gifted field general,” his father said.

Mr. Cuva’s mother, Kathleen Aplington, said he met with members of Sigma Pi during his first visit to MU in April 2009 and liked the fraternity for its welcoming attitude and smaller size.

Aplington said the “spirit and feel of the campus” were the biggest draws for her son when he chose to transfer to MU.

“He loved the feel of the campus, and he, being a big football fan, thought it would be fun to be in the Big 12,” Aplington said. “Despite what happened, he really liked it there. He loved the campus and the people.”

Aplington said Mr. Cuva had considered applying to law school in a few years after finishing undergraduate business studies.

“He was a person who could see both sides of every story,” Martin Cuva said. “He would have made a great lawyer or businessman.”

Matthew Wilson, a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Chicago, met William Cuva in the second grade and said they had been close friends ever since.

“The last time I saw him was Thanksgiving,” Wilson said. “Even though I hadn’t seen him all semester, we just picked up right where we had left off.”

Wilson said Mr. Cuva was always interested in discussing politics and was a skilled debater.

“He was a libertarian, so, naturally, there was a lot of debate about that since it’s sort of an uncommon viewpoint,” Wilson said. “He had a very interesting perspective on everything.”

Wilson said more than 100 people gathered for a candlelight vigil Sunday near Mr. Cuva’s former high school.

“It was absolutely wonderful to see the outpouring of support and love at the vigil,” Martin Cuva said. “He was really liked by a broad spectrum of people. He allowed them to be who they truly were.”

William Cuva’s funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Dec. 22 at Wesley United Methodist Church & Foundation in Urbana. Sigma Pi is accepting memorial contributions.

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