Nolan Burch

From Buffalo News and Associated Press

WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – WVU president announced Canisius High grad and Western New York native Nolan Burch, 18, passed away Friday following a Wednesday night incident at a fraternity house.

Burch, a 2014 Canisius High School graduate, was rushed to a West Virginia hospital in the early morning hours of Thursday. WVU Dean of Students Corey Farris told 2 On Your Side the incident happened at the Kappa Sigma house. Farris says Burch was a student in the College of Business and Economics. Burch’s family posted on social media Thursday night that he was unresponsive and in intensive care.

On Friday night, NBC News was reporting that West Virginia police had confirmed the incident was “alcohol related,” but wouldn’t say if that was the cause of the teen’s death.

Following the incident, the University placed an immediate moratorium on all Greek activities until further notice. Farris says that moratorium could last until the end of the semester. This follows another incident on November 6 when members of another fraternity were involved in a disturbance.

WVU is offering counseling services for friends and loved ones. Farris says there have been other incidents at fraternities and sororities associated with the University in recent years, but nothing this grave.

Burch had a lot of friends at Canisius High School, where a service was held for him Friday morning to wish him a full recovery.

The chapel was filled to capacity, according to Assistant Principal Joseph Amuso.

Many of the current upperclassmen at Canisius knew Nolan well and were devastated by the news.

“He was a very social guy. He was really fun-loving,” Alexander Holmwood, a senior, said. “(He was) just really friendly all together and had a lot of people’s best interests at heart.”

Hundreds of students gathered for a vigil on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown Friday night to remember Burch.

“We will miss the Nolan that was the caring person who always took personal time to ensure the happiness of others,” said a WVU student speaking at the vigil.

Also Friday, Kappa Sigma’s Director of Chapter Services told us that while, “Kappa Sigma is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the event. This proves difficult, as the operations of this chapter have been suspended since mid-October due to previous, unrelated violations of Kappa Sigma’s Code of Conduct.”

That means the charter of WVU’s Kappa Sigma chapter was pulled before the incident involving Burch happened Wednesday night.

“Some people are devastated. Pretty somber mood around here,” said Daniel Morris.

Morris, a WVU junior from Orchard Park, knew Burch from Greek Life.

“I met him a few times during the rushing process earlier in the year, but we did talk about how we had common roots in Buffalo,” he said.

And now, people from West Virginia to Western New York are mourning the loss of Burch.

“I’m truly sorry about what happened. No one deserves to lose someone, especially someone who is that young and when they’re such a nice kid. I hope that his family can persevere. I know they’re strong people,” said Morris.

There is a vigil to honor Burch’s life Saturday night. It’s at 7 o’clock at Briarhurst Park in Williamsville, and it is being organized by family friends. They tell us the outpouring of support so far has been incredible.

You can read the statement from WVU regarding the incident here: WVU Statement on Student Medical Emergency

Burch’s friends and family used #prayfornolan on Twitter.

Below is the full statement from West Virginia University President, E. Gordon Gee:

“Words cannot describe the heartache we, as a West Virginia University family, feel at the loss of one of our own – Nolan Michael Burch – who passed away today,” said WVU President E. Gordon Gee.

“The outpouring of love and support from his friends and this community has been what you would expect from Mountaineers, and I would ask that you continue to keep the Burch family and many friends in your thoughts and prayers.”

University and Morgantown Police continue to investigate what occurred around midnight Wednesday (Nov. 12) when 9-1-1 responders were called to an off-campus fraternity house where a catastrophic medical emergency was in progress.

Burch was a freshman majoring in pre-sport management.