Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  August 2017  >  August 22, 2017  >  Vigil remembers 'brilliant and beautiful life' of College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, prays for recovery of three students injured in accident
Vigil remembers 'brilliant and beautiful life' of College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, prays for recovery of three students injured in accident

At the start of Welcome Week, usually a joyous time bringing Creighton University students together after the summer break and enlivening the start of the new academic year, the news Monday afternoon sounded a somber, sad note.

Four Creighton students were in an automobile accident shortly after 10 a.m., Aug. 21. Joan Ocampo-Yambing, a 19-year-old sophomore computer science major from Rosemount, Minnesota, was killed.

Injured in the accident on Interstate 80 near 84th Street in Omaha, were Demetra Arvanitakis, a sophomore in the College of Nursing from Overland Park, Kansas; Madalene Steichen, a sophomore theology major from Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Will Tavis, a sophomore computer science major from Kirkwood, Missouri. The students were transported to Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

A woman in another car involved in the collision, Kim Davlin, is a 1990 Creighton occupational therapy graduate. She has also been hospitalized with injuries.

Monday afternoon, a prayer vigil was announced by Creighton President Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ. Fr. Hendrickson presided over the 7 p.m. vigil at St. John’s Church, urging students to stand with and support one another with faith, hope and mercy, recalling Ocampo-Yambing’s “brilliant and beautiful life.”

“Here at this place, Creighton University, a place of religious perspective and faith, we have one another,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “And as surely as I know this campus and this community, we will stand together and we will find a way to come to that healing, that mercy. This is a time for the Creighton community to stand together and deploy the power of hope.”

More than 800 students filled St. John’s as Fr. Hendrickson bade prayers for Ocampo-Yambing and her family, and for the recovery of Arvanitakis, Steichen and Tavis, who remained hospitalized Tuesday morning.

Ocampo-Yambing, who professed a desire to see her poetry published by the age of 20, came out with a book of verse, Roots of a Wildflower: A Collection of Poems through the Teenage Years, just last week. She was active in Campus Ministry and was a Dean’s Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Joan Ocampo-Yambing was a beautiful, gentle soul,” said HollyAnn Harris, PhD, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and an adviser to Ocampo-Yambing. “She was quiet in a contemplative way. She spoke when she had something important to say, and others listened. She had a positive attitude and faced both good times and adversity with equal grace.”

Creighton offers counseling and other services for members of the Creighton community who may need assistance at this difficult time. Below is a listing of available support services offered in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition of cura personalis.

Grief counseling for students, faculty, and staff:
The Center for Health and Counseling will work to accommodate walk-ins this week for anyone who cannot schedule an appointment. If a student is experiencing a crisis, he or she should contact Public Safety (402-280-2104) to receive assistance, 24 hours a day.

Spiritual and Pastoral Care:
The Jesuit priests, staff ministers in the Division of Mission and Ministry, including the Campus Ministry Office, and the chaplains of the colleges and residence halls are available to individuals who need or desire spiritual counseling, guidance, or sacramental support. In addition, there are numerous opportunities to pray together as a community each weekday. Masses on campus are daily at noon in St. John’s Church and at 5 p.m. in lower St. John’s Chapel


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