Tributes pour in for GS student Nicole Orttung

She passed away last week

Tributes are flooding in from across the country for GS student Nicole Orttung, who passed away last week.

Born in Prague, she moved to Brooklyn as a toddler, and then was raised in Arlington, Virginia.

Nicole, a senior in the Dual BA Program Between, was studying Euro-American relations and political science.

She was also very involved in activities throughout college as she volunteered for the 2012 Obama campaign and at various times interned as a writer with the Wilson Center, the Christian Science Monitor and the Columbia Spectator.


Described as a young woman whose “ambition and activity… seemed to bubble up from a deep well of enthusiasm for life,” she will be missed by all of those whose lives she touched.

The family has asked for donations to be made to the Wilson Center in her name. There is also a link in the Washington Post to her obituary where a guest book can be signed in her memory.

Here are some of the tributes that have been made in her honor:

Evan Glasier, Arlington, Virginia

Nicole was a wonderful young woman. I had the pleasure to teach her in high school and she was one of the smartest, kindest students I have ever met. She will truly be missed.

Randy Glasner, Alexandria, Virginia

Nicole was a wonderful clarinet student of mine for eight years. She always allowed her sensitivity as a musician to shine when she played. My deepest thoughts are with her family.

Lawino Lurum, New York

It was an honor to meet you, Nicole. Really saddened by the news and loss. You will be dearly missed here at GS Columbia. My Sincere condolences to family and loved ones. May you find comfort in the love and memories shared.

Lynn Leavitt, The Villages, Florida

Nicole was a student in my third grade class many years ago. She was a very dedicated student who showed kindness to her classmates and everyone around her. Her smile warmed up a room, and she was very well liked. I am so sorry to have received the news of her passing. My prayers are with her family and friends. She was a creative and lovely person in every way.

A fellow Columbian, New York

Celebrating a life well lived. Rest in peace, Nicole Orttung.


I am so saddened by the news of Nicole’s passing. My deepest prayers and sympathies are with your family.

Alice Wright, New York

Nicole was a joy to be around. I did not have the pleasure of knowing her very much, but in the moments I spent in her presence, she was always cheerful and good.

GS Dean of Students Tom Harford added:

“It is with sadness that I write to share with you the news of the passing of GS undergraduate student, Nicole Orttung. Born in Prague, Czech Republic, and raised in Arlington, Virginia, Nicole was in her fourth year of the Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and Sciences Po, studying Euro-American relations and political science.

“We send our heartfelt condolences to Nicole’s family and friends.

“Whenever we lose someone within our community, we are all affected, whether or not we know the person well. Please know that your academic advisor, the staff at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), and members of the Office of the University Chaplain are all available to provide you with any additional support you may need at this time. I have listed contact information for these resources below.”

Students can speak to CPS at (212) 854-2878, the Office of the University Chaplain at (212) 854-1493, Nightline at (212) 854-7777, or the GS Dean of Students Office at (212) 854-2881.

Columbia University