The light from hundreds of candles reflected off of the snow covered ground at the candlelight vigil held in memory of Courtney O’Bryan’s life last night.
O’Bryan, of Huntingdon, N.Y., was killed and four other students, two of which were members from the Zeta Chapter, were hospitalized after a motor vehicle accident in Bradford, Pa. en route to Buffalo for an Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon canning trip.
The vigil was held at Kappa Delta Rho’s fraternity house for students that were unable to attend the vigil held at the Arboretum on Monday.
The 18 year old was a member of Sigma Delta Tau sorority. President of Sigma Delta Tau Sarah Abraham said “Courtney was an amazing person, and we were lucky we had the chance to get to know her.” Abraham said after the news of O’Bryan’s death, the Penn State community as well as chapters of Sigma Delta Tau at other universities reached out to comfort Abraham and the members of her sorority.
During the vigil, students stood outside and listened to the testimonies that members of the sorority prepared on how O’Bryan impacted their lives during her time as a sister and a student at Penn State. As each member began to read, members gathered together and comforted those who began to cry while sharing their memories of O’Bryan. Sigma Delta Tau member Ashleigh Burns said O’Bryan was happy every day and had a positive outlook on life. She said she remembers how Courtney never complained and would always volunteer for the positions and jobs others did not want. According to Burns “Courtney was a great person and always had on a contagious smile.”
When Kappa Delta Rho President Alec Schmidt first received the news of O’Bryan’s fatal accident, he turned toward those he was canning with and said they were in “complete shock.” Brother Schmidt is a sophomore and a finance major. The Zeta Chapter of Kappa Delta Rho are partners with O’Bryan’s sorority. According to Alec it was right of his fraternity to host the vigil to give students the chance to pay their respects to O’Bryan’s memory.
Schmidt said he was grateful for the number of students, alumni and community members who reached out to the Zeta Chapter and O’Bryan’s sorority.