KITCHENER -- A vigil was held at the University of Waterloo Wednesday night for two of their students that were killed when a Ukrainian passenger plane crashed near Iran's capital.

Marzieh (Mari) Foroutan and Mansour Esfahani were among the 176 passengers and crew killed on the flight headed to Kyiv, Ukraine Wednesday.

Friends and classmates of the two students gathered along with the University's large Iranian community to remember Foroutan and Esfahani, who were both working towards their PhD’s.

“It’s a huge shock and it’s hard to process and the grief hits you in waves,” said University of Waterloo PhD supervisor Carl Hass.

Foroutan was a third year PhD student studying geography.

“She was really hard working, very nice with everyone. She was a bit shy in a good way, and introvert,” said Nastaran Saberi, a classmate of Foroutan.

Esfahani was studying to get his PhD in civil engineering.

“He was a sweet guy, very enthusiastic. He was very happy to be here,” said Hass. “He was really a hard worker he was a fine scholar and a great person and a really fine engineer too.”

Among those being remembered at the vigil tonight were two members of a family of four from Edmonton, whose picture was also placed on a table near the photos of Foroutan and Esfahani.

Vigil co-organizer Alipasha Imanivala of the Iranian Students Associationof Waterloo said the man and woman in the family, Pedram Mousavi and Mojgan Danshmand, were both University of Waterloo alumni.   

Two students from the University of Guelph Ghanimat Azhdari, and Milad Ghasemi Ariani were also killed in the crash.