Remembering Ben


Plants, spontaneity, cooking, photography and music. These were a few of Ben Mohla’s favorite things. 

Described by his friends as one of the happiest and goofiest people they have ever known, Ben Mohla was a real presence in the UVM community.

The loss of Ben’s life has resonated with students and faculty alike throughout the school. 

A student in the Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources, Ben was passionate about the environment and learning all that he could.

“If he learned something in class, and he really loved it, he would come home and tell us about it,” senior Jon Ritter, Ben’s roommate, said. “He would also do that when he met a new person, which was every time that he walked out of the room.”

A project Ben was working on was to plant a garden on a truck. He wanted to create a portable grocery story and sell produce to people around Burlington, according to junior Maddie Cody.

A man of spontaneity, Ben was always ready to try something new. His friends remember the time last winter that he, and senior Dan Cmejla, camped outside in the snow. “There was two feet of snow on the ground, but they wanted to do it. I think they stayed out the whole night,” Cody said. 

With a love of creating new food creations, another one of Mohla’s favorite things to do was to enjoy these concoctions and share that enjoyment with others. 

“He loved making pancakes. He would always share his pancakes and food creations,” senior Chelsie Lynne Walters said. “One time he made “bancakes,” bacon with pancake mix poured on top of it.”

Those who knew Ben could see his passion for music. A former trumpet player at Wakefield High School in Massachusetts, Ben enjoyed playing all hours of the day, so much that he brought his trumpet with him to Vermont.

“None of us had any idea that he even played the trumpet until one night we were all just hanging out and he came in and just started jamming on the trumpet,” Cody said. “One of his other roommate started playing the keyboard and we all just had this sing-along, it was so funny!”

Photography was yet another love of Ben’s. He enjoyed taking silly photo-shoots of his friends. “I’m upset I never took him up on his offer for a funny photo-shoot in the snow,” Walters said.

Apart from these passions, Ben possessed a lust for life that couldn’t be matched. With his “big bubbly personality, he made friends easily,” Ritter said. Described by his friends as one of the kindest people they know, Ben was known to never have anything bad to say about anyone. 

He was the kind of person that wanted others to take part in his happiness with him. Full of life, Ben was known to brighten even the darkest of days. 

Moving forward, the loss of Ben’s life has left a great hole in the Catamount community, yet his stories live on. Whether we choose to remember his terrarium best friends, his hate for doing dishes or his risqu?© silver women’s Halloween costume, the thought of Ben Mohla will leave a smile on the faces of every person he touched.

“I am terribly sad,” Cmejla said. “But have already found that the memories many of us have of him are so profoundly good that they are able to cheer us in even our darkest times.”

The University, in collaboration with the Rubenstein School, will host a Gathering of Remembrance Dec. 4 at 4:00 p.m. in the Aiken Center Solarium, according to a University wide email from Annie Stevens, Vice Provost for Student Affairs. Students and faculty are welcome to attend to share memories of Ben during the gathering.