‘She was a beautiful soul inside and out’: Friends pay tribute to SHU junior who died in tragic accident

Friends of Caitlin Nelson reflect on their favorite memories of her

Over the last few days, the Sacred Heart University community has been mourning the passing of Caitlin Nelson. She was involved in a choking incident at a campus Greek life event, and tragically passed away earlier this week.

The 20-year-old SHU junior was studying social work. She was widely known on campus, especially in the Greek community. Now, Caitlin’s friends are reflecting on the best memories they shared with her.

SHU student Julia Petrozzino said, “I think one of my favorite memories with Caitlin was when she knocked on my door one night really late freshman year and when I opened the door she was standing there in her pajamas and told me she was bored and wanted to hang out. So of course we hopped up into my lofted bed and talked about life and ate popcorn until the sun peeked through the window. She was such a sweet and genuinely good person – we talked about everything that night. I will never forget her squeezing me as tight as she could and calling me her ‘little bug’ every time she saw me. She was truly one of the best people I have ever known and she will never be forgotten.”

Julia Petrozzino (left) and Caitlin Nelson (right)

“Caitlin and I worked together on Kappa Delta’s Shamrock the Runway 2016 together. Working with Caitlin allowed me to realize how genuine and caring she was. Her energy and friendly/loving personality was so incredibly contagious. Her dedication not only to the philanthropy event but our Eta Nu chapter is truly inspiring. We will miss you dearly, Cait.” – Julia D’Abramo

Caitlin with Julia D’Abramo and friends

Another fellow SHU student who wished to keep her identity anonymous said, “Caitlin’s passion in life was helping those who were sick or less fortunate. She was a beautiful soul inside and out.”

“Caitlin was a selfless individual who knew how to brighten anyone’s day with her beautiful smile. Myself and the rest of the people who knew Caitlin are truly blessed to have had such an incredible person in our lives.” – Marisa Tache

And, of course, we can’t forget the impactful words of university president, Dr. John Petillo, who posted a blog the Monday after we all learned of Caitlin’s passing. His beautifully worded post sums up exactly what the entire SHU community has been feeling.

“Many of you did not know Caitlin, but you consider her family anyway. Here at SHU, when one of us is hurt, we all hurt; when one of us excels, we all celebrate. Whether you knew Caitlin or not, you came together to express your love for her, your love for each other and your love for SHU.”


Rest in peace, Caitlin. 

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