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The SON Remembers Olutoyosi Fatolu—1972-2014

On November 20, students, faculty, staff, and the family of Olutoyosi L. Fatolu gathered together to pay tribute to this special BSN student. Ms. Fatolu, called Olu by her friends, passed away on October 30.

Ms. Fatolu lived in Raleigh, NC with her husband, Ade, and their two children. Originally from Nigeria, Ms. Fatolu joined the BSN program with nine years of teaching experience from her home country and a master’s degree in social work. A former nurse aide, she was driven to practice at a higher level and she held herself to a high academic standard.

During the service, friends, colleagues, and teachers spoke of how warm and thoughtful Ms. Fatolu was.

“What I remember distinctly about her was how fantastic she was with her patients,” said Angel Smith, a student in Ms. Fatolu’s clinical group. “Her kind smile and soft words helped her patients feel comfortable.”

“I will remember Olu as being one of the most humble, respectful, and gracious people I have ever known,” said Elizabeth Griffin, Ms. Fatolu’s clinical instructor. “I think we can all learn a lot from her and how she lived her life. As nurses, future nurses, and human beings, we can all work to incorporate the virtues of humility, respect, and graciousness into our everyday lives just as she did.”

A woman of deep faith, Ms. Fatolu was very active with her church. Her friend Paul Osei recalled her beautiful singing in the church choir and how the woman he knew as Mama Gigi, which means quiet woman, inspired him. “The way she lived her life made me want to follow her,” he said. “Whenever she talked, I always wanted to listen to her so that I might mimic her and be as holy as she was.”

“She made me a better person than I was,” her husband Ade said as he spoke of their marriage. “I do not regret a second of the time we spent together.”

The service ended with a prayer and a song. Attendees reconvened outside in front of the School to write memories of Ms. Fatolu on notecards they tied to ballooms. In one final act to honor Ms. Fatolu, they released the balloons and watched them fly up into the cloudless, Carolina Blue sky.