Lenoir-Rhyne student drowns in Lake Hickory

A Lenoir-Rhyne University student drowned late Monday afternoon while swimming with college friends in Lake Hickory, school officials and Catawba County authorities said.

Vince Njoku, a 19-year-old freshman from Woodstock, Ga., had gone to Geitner-Rotary Park to celebrate the end of the school year, authorities said.

Officials said friends report Njoku jumped into the water about 5:30 p.m. but did not come back up. Rescue crews arrived a few minutes later, and divers found the student’s body about 6:45 p.m. in 13 feet of water.

Njoku was majoring in computer science, according to the school. He was a member of the football team that reached the national championship game last year. Head football coach Ian Shields issued a statement, saying Njoku was a loved teammate and will be missed on the campus.

The university said it will have grief counselors available to meet with students and staff on Tuesday. Katie Fisher, Lenoir-Rhyne’s dean of students, said those in need of help can go to the Cornerstone Center on campus.

Njoku was a 2013 graduate of River Ridge High School near Atlanta.