A Place for Remembering


Nursing Memorial Garden Dedicated

It has been less than a year since five Georgia Southern University nursing students perished and two more were injured in a tragic car accident on I-16 in Bryan County, Georgia, but the memory of the tragedy still lingers.

After students and faculty mourned in classes all over the campus, and after friends, family and the campus community mourned together at the memorial service held at Sweetheart Circle, the University School of Nursing began working with Facilities Services to create a more permanent memorial: a place for remembering.

On Oct. 19, in a ceremony held outside the School of Nursing, Georgia Southern dedicated the School of Nursing Memorial Garden — a space where friends, family and the campus community can visit and remember Morgan Bass, Caitlyn Baggett, Emily Clark, Abbie DeLoach and Catherine “McKay” Pittman, who lost their lives in the accident, and Brittney McDaniel and Megan Richards, both of whom returned to school after a long recovery.

“When you have memories, you need a place to bring them so that you can reflect and you can do that in a place that’s beautiful,” said Georgia Southern Interim President Jean E. Bartels, Ph.D., RN. “Today, we dedicate this beautiful place to think, to remember and to celebrate the beautiful lives taken far too soon.”

The garden consists of seven crepe myrtle trees surrounded by apricot-colored azalea plants — apricot is the color for the profession of nursing. The five center trees will produce white blossoms and the outer two trees will produce pink blossoms. Paired with a magnolia tree donated by the University of Pennsylvania, the trees’ canopy will provide shade and protection for those who useit symbolizing the students’ desire to care for and protect others.

“The planting of trees to honor another individual is an ancient ritual,” said Sharon Radzyminski, Ph.D., J.D., RN, chair of the School of Nursing. “The tree is considered an important image of wisdom, knowledge and life. When a tree digs deep roots and grows wide branches, it does so through the abundant love and grace made known by the person who plants it or is represented by it. These seven women exemplified the love, compassion, beauty and grace signified by the tree.” — Doy Cave

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