Kean mourns student killed in gunfire

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By Mike Roche | Published Sept. 24, 2016

Marcus Corey Ellis, a Kean University senior who was shot dead on Aug. 31 in Plainfield, was a beloved student who left a strong impression on everyone he met on campus.

Ellis was a Transfer Instructional Mentor (T.I.M.), which is a student advisor who works with the professor in GE 3000 Transition to Kean courses designed for transfer students.

A Brooklyn native and aspiring history teacher, he left a special mark on Prof. Bridget Lepore’s class last
semester. The students in that section became close and on the last day of class had a party to celebrate the semester.

“He was involved, he didn’t stand back,” said Lepore. “He always had a smile on his face.”

According to a report on, Ellis was killed around 11 p.m. on Aug. 31 in a shooting on the 700 block of
Hillside Avenue in Plainfield where two others were left wounded, the report said.

Ellis was going to the store for groceries and that he told he his father he would be back in ten minutes, the report added.

The Plainfield Police Department referred calls to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, which is investigating.

“Marcus was an amazing help in class and the one who introduced me to Kean during my first semester,” said Danielle Blackston, a senior at Kean. “He always had me laughing, and truly became my friend.”

Ellis had memorized all the students’ names on the first day and stayed engaged with them equally. The students in the class had even planned to attend Homecoming as a group.

Ellis’ influence didn’t stop at the classroom. Co-worker and friend Steven Walters spoke of Ellis’ positivity, his homemade catchphrases and his love of Asian culture and Snapchat.

“If you were in a bad mood, he always knew how to put a smile on your face,” said Walters.

Dr. Charles Nelson said Ellis was personable, engaged in his work and took time for each individual student.

“He was just a person I liked, somebody who was easy to talk to,” said Dr. Nelson.

Wilma Velazquez, a T.I.M supervisor, said Ellis was never too busy for people despite a hectic schedule. She said that he took classes full-time, made the Dean’s List last semester, held three other jobs and still found a way to be close to his family.

“He was just a kind soul,” said Velazquez.

Kean University issued a memoriam about Ellis via e-mail on Sept. 9.

“The Kean University community mourns the loss of Marcus Corey Ellis, a senior studying history teacher education, who died tragically on August 31,” the email read.

Ellis is survived by his parents, Jerrell and Yolanda, and his four brothers.

Ellis was also known for his unique way of saying goodbye. What he said was, “Love, peace and hair grease.

Love, peace and hair grease to you, Marcus. R.I.P.

Students in need of counseling are encouraged to visit the Kean Counseling Center, located in Downs Hall room 127. Employees may seek assistance via the Employee Assistance Program by calling (908) 497-3954.

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