Duquesne community mourns the loss of nursing student


Ollie Gratzinger | Opinions Editor & Kailey Love | Editor-in-chief

A junior nursing student died on Jan. 14 at UPMC Mercy Hospital, a day after she was found unconscious in her Vickroy Hall dorm room.

Columbia Dyson, 21, was pronounced dead at 9:26 a.m. on Monday, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office. Cause and manner have yet to be determined, and the case has been turned over to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for further investigation.

Vice President of Student Life Douglas Frizzell sent an email to students and faculty on Monday morning, asking them to keep Dyson and her family in their thoughts and prayers.

“The death of a student is always tragic,” Frizzell said in a statement to The Duke. “Columbia was a kind, energetic and active student on campus and in the nursing program. She was well-liked and she will be missed by the entire Duquesne community. She and her family will remain in our prayers.”

Praise of Dyson’s character was echoed by Mary Ellen Glasgow, dean of the nursing school.

“The entire School of Nursing community mourns the loss of … Columbia Dyson,” Glasgow said. “Columbia was a compassionate and committed student who excelled academically and cared deeply about her patients.”

Glasgow went on to add that Dyson actively participated in Greek Life, as well as the Duquesne University Student Nurse Association.

“Columbia will be deeply missed by her nursing colleagues, sorority sisters and Duquesne classmates and friends,” Glasgow said.

Dyson was the Alumnae Relations Chairwoman throughout 2018 for Duquesne’s Alpha Mu chapter of the sorority Alpha Omicron Pi, and was just beginning her role as the Vice President of Administration this semester.

In an Instagram post, the Alpha Mu chapter referred to Columbia as “a beacon of light to all she encountered.”

“The Alpha Mu Chapter of [Alpha Omicron Pi] is mourning the loss of a dear sister, Columbia Dyson,” the sisters of Alpha Omicron Pi said in a statement to The Duke. “Over the next few days, we ask for privacy to allow us to mourn our loss. We are currently supporting one another and remembering the good times with Columbia. We will miss her terribly. Most importantly, please keep Columbia’s family and friends in your thoughts during this difficult time.”

Counselors are available in the Wellbeing Center in 636 Fisher Hall. According to the email, information regarding Dyson’s funeral service and a possible on-campus memorial service will be released shortly.