JMU Grad Killed In Maryland

Mark Waugh Held School Record For Debate Wins

Posted: October 15, 2013

HARRISONBURG — A James Madison University graduate was killed early Sunday morning in Maryland, according to police.

The victim, Mark Edward Waugh, 23, of Great Falls, was a member of JMU’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, a prestigious academic-based honor society, and a stellar debater. Waugh, a history major, graduated in May and was attending Georgetown University’s law school.

“Mark Waugh was one of the best people I have ever met,” said Michael Davis, a communications professor and director of the debate team. “He was one of those people who effortlessly combined a commitment to excellence with a fun an easygoing attitude.”

The Case

Police in Montgomery County, Md., say that patrol units responded to an apartment at 1220 East West Highway in Silver Spring at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday after a 23-year-old woman called 911 for help.

 Two men were inside the apartment, in addition to the caller, police say.

“One of the males was suffering from what appeared to be cutting wounds and was unresponsive,” a police statement referring to Waugh said.

Waugh was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other man, Rahul Gupta, 24, of McLean, was arrested and charged with homicide.

Police have not detailed the circumstances that led up to the crime. Reports in the media had conflicting information as to whether the two men knew one another and that information could not be confirmed one way or the other by press time.

‘A Wonderful Person’

Waugh spent four years on the debate team at JMU.

“Mark won more debates in his four years at JMU than anyone in JMU history and the team experienced its greatest success during his four years,” said Davis.

Waugh not only achieved academic success, Davis said, but was a genuinely good person. Davis said the JMU community is still trying to come to grips with the tragedy.

“Mark was a fantastic debater, but he was an even better person and teammate,” said Davis. “A testament to this are the number of people who have posted on Facebook today. Never have I seen someone described by so many people as their best friend.”

Davis said he considered Waugh more than just a member of his debate team.

“He was a wonderful person destined to do amazing things,” Davis said. “And I will miss my friend every day for the rest of my life.”

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or

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