SON Class of 2017 and Honors Academy celebrate one of their own

Classmates and colleagues of Radford nursing student Bridgett Oliver gathered Apr. 2 for a candlelight vigil.

To celebrate Bridgett Oliver, more than 100 classmates from the School on Nursing and Honors Academy, gathered for a memorial vigil at Waldron Hall on April 2.

Oliver died as the result of an automobile accident late Friday. Bridgett was 21 and a senior honors nursing major. She was from New Castle and is survived by her parents William and Teresa.

Fellow honors nursing student Rachel Jones of Dinwiddie was seriously injured in the same accident and is hospitalized.

Associate Professor of Nursing Sharla Cooper and Honors Academy Director Neils Christensen joined almost 20 of Oliver’s classmates, teachers and friends to share reminiscences.

“She was determined like no one I have ever seen,” said Cooper of the fourth-level nursing student who would have graduated in May and was to become a labor delivery nurse. “She was smart, courageous and determined. We can be smarter, more courageous and determined for knowing her.”

Christensen recalled Oliver’s capstone defense in which she confidently responded to challenges to her project on post-natal vomiting.

“She balanced expertise with empathy and was passionate and excited about making the world better, despite difficult circumstances,” Christensen said.

One classmate recounted his relief when she was assigned to his group for a project, saying, “When you were with her, you knew you were going to ace the project.”

Another nursing colleague reflected on Oliver’s work with a single mother who was going through the birth of her child alone.

“Bridget told me she felt so much joy in caring for that patient during the worst of times. What a message. I will take it with me every day in my nursing career.”

A candlelight vigil and balloon release into a clear sky dominated by a full moon capped the ceremony while a drum circle by faculty and students from the Music Therapy program accompanied the poignant gathering.


Fellow nursing and honors academy students reflect on the loss of one of their own, Bridgett Oliver.

Apr 4, 2017
Don Bowman
(540) 831-5182