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September 21, 2023

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Student remembered for personality, work ethic

As Mary Jane King sat down at Starbucks recently, the heavy snow falling on campus comforted her.

She was comforted by the snowfall because it reminded her of her boyfriend, Mark Borsz, and how he loved to play around in it with his friends. But as the snow fell it also saddened King, reminding her of Mark’s unexpected death when his heart gave out during a run on Feb. 24.

Mark was a senior art student at the University and his friends and family remember him as someone who always focused on his artwork and helping others, but that didn’t stop him from being a “goofball” like he was when playing around in the snow.

“I can’t hate this weather now,” King said. “I love it because it reminds me of him.”

Although Mark liked to fool around with his friends, he took his artwork seriously. Once Mark figured out glass blowing was what he wanted to focus on, he was set for school, said Debbie Borsz, Mark’s mom.

“From what we heard and saw, he was really, really on track to become something good,” Debbie said.

From simple glasses to ray guns and castles, Mark always tried to improve upon his artwork, never settling for a piece of work with a slight scratch or indentation, Debbie said. Along with his drive for perfection, Mark also presented his work with a sense of modesty, she said.

“He had no idea how talented he really was,” his mom said. “He’d always say ‘I can’t let you keep this one Mom because it’s got this problem or this problem.’ He always downplayed his work.”

While Mark had promised to blow a set of wine glasses for his mom and dad, he never got around to it. Instead, Debbie is keeping a glass Mark made that she calls “beautiful.”

Mark’s work is still on display for students to see in the Fine Arts Building for the Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibit.

Another person who was able to hold onto a piece of Mark’s artwork was his friend, Shane Brown.

Brown agreed with Debbie that Mark was always very focused and hard-working on his artwork and other activities he had going on.

“He was constantly working on something, but it never seemed to wear him down,” Brown said. “It was kind of amazing.”

Brown met Mark when he moved onto campus for his freshman year. Brown expected him to be a ruthless resident adviser but instead found a caring and funny friend in Mark.

“He was just one of those people you could talk to about anything,” Brown said.

As a new student, Brown looked up to Mark as his RA and that continued this year when Brown became Mark’s roommate in an off-campus residence.

“In that sense he was kind of fatherly and brotherly to me,” Brown said. “If your back was ever up against the wall, no matter what he had going on, he was there for you.”

Like Brown, King found that Mark constantly seemed to put others before himself. One time, Mark even enrolled in an early morning Ballroom Dancing class with King, despite the fact that his classes and time to work on projects kept him up late at night.

Although the two decided to drop the class later in the semester, King said she was still impressed with the little amount of sleep Mark got and his ability to stay focused on his artwork while waking up at 8:30 a.m. to dance with her.

“I’m going to hold onto that memory for the rest of my life,” she said. “I am so proud of him for his glasswork and who he was.”

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