Lauren Ashley McCain

Age: 20

Class: Freshman

Major: International Studies

Hometown: Hampton, VA (born in Midwest City, OK)

High School: Home-Schooled

Died along with Instructor Jamie Bishop and 3 other students in German class.


Audio/Video Remembrances

YouTube Video: Lauren McCain - Memories (by davermac) (Editor's note: A beautifully done video.)

Personal Remembrances From Family/Friends/Colleagues

Submit your personal remembrance for posting here (please include your name and relationship).

Newspaper Remembrance Stories

She Reveled in Foreign Languages
(Roanoke Times Profile)

Sherry and David McCain, a U.S. Navy captain, waited at the Inn at Virginia Tech, embracing and weeping with other families as each child was identified. Finally, at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, a photograph of their daughter’s face ended their agony.

There was the image of Lauren McCain, the last person identified that day, a young woman who described Jesus as the “love of my life” and her older brother, Joel, as her hero on a MySpace profile.

“We went through those waves of grief constantly as one does,” said a family spokesman, the Rev. Leonard Riley, formerly of Restoration Church-Phoebus Baptist in Hampton. “We’re programmed to bury our grandparents, but not a child. It’s like we’re unequipped.”

From the emerging details, Lauren McCain was in her German class in Norris Hall when she was shot.

She was the second of four McCain children.

Erin Elliott, 18, said her cousin would call her from Virginia Tech, practicing her pronunciation of German poetry or seeking guidance when she confused the grammatical rules.

“She was a fast learner and, after one semester, she could catch my grammar mistakes,” Elliott said.

McCain absorbed new languages. In her teenage years she taught herself Latin, figuring it would help her with future studies in science and romance languages, Elliott said.

She would invent words that quickly caught on with her family, like “lupper” for the meal between lunch and dinner and “squeat” for let’s go eat.

“After she coined that word, we always said 'squeat.’ It was commonly heard for our family holiday gatherings,” Elliott said.

McCain, who was home schooled, worked for a year at Hecht’s department store and saved money for her first year in college.

Elliot said McCain cheered her up after she drove her grandfather’s diesel truck into a mailbox. “She prayed with me until I could stop crying and started laughing — she calmed me down,” the cousin said.

The two dreamed of traveling together in Germany for a summer, going so far as to call the airlines for fares. At other times, they envisioned living in a “huge mansion.” McCain wanted to live by the ocean while Elliot preferred mountains.

The two did pranks, “like hanging boys’ underwear in trees.”

McCain was born in Midwest City, Okla., and then moved to Florida, Texas and Hampton, Va., a little more than five years ago.

“She was a radiant person who had a genuine love for the Lord,” said the Rev. David Bounds at the Hampton church.

McCain was a music junkie who played guitar but refused to listen to country music. She played soccer on the Hampton church’s team and was active in its drama ministry.

“She was very spiritual,” her cousin said. “You knew everyone in the family would listen if you wanted to read something from a Bible. No matter where they moved, they always found a church.”

Jeff Elliott, an uncle and an Oklahoma state trooper assigned to an FBI cyber crime task force, said he was making preliminary arrangements for a memorial service and interment near Shawnee, Okla. She has many relatives, including grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins in that region of Oklahoma.

“This is the home base for the McCains,” he said. “I feel that we should honor these kids and their memories. Then, possibly, there is some good that can come out of this bad situation.”

Judy Magouirk, McCain’s aunt who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, said in an e-mail:

“Lauren was a bright light in our family. She was involved in Campus Crusade for Christ, and participated in five different international Bible study groups. … Her plan was to live in Europe after graduation. She leaves behind a loving family who will miss her dearly.”

— Pamela Podger (Roanoke Times, 4/18/07)

New York Times Profile:

No one who knew Lauren Ashley McCain well could ever doubt what she considered the driving force in her life.

"The purpose and love of my life is Jesus Christ," she wrote in her profile on "I don't have to argue religion, philosophy, or historical evidence because I KNOW Him. He is just as real, if not more so, as my 'earthly' father."

A 20-year-old native of Hampton, Va., Ms. McCain was known among friends as spiritual and outgoing with a penchant for playing pranks. She loved science fiction movies and almost every type of music except country, and she always seemed happiest in church.

"She was just so peaceful and happy worshipping her God," Marrisa Macri, a childhood friend, told The Daily Press, a newspaper in Hampton Roads, Va. "I remember seeing her just two Sundays ago, on Easter at church. She was sitting on the left of her row, two rows in front of us, just glowing, literally glowing with joy, worshipping God while her little sister Abby, who she held on to, was singing along with her.

Another of Ms. McCain's passions was language. She had almost mastered Latin, was studying German and told friends she dreamed of visiting Germany one day. At Virginia Tech, she was majoring in international studies.

On Monday, she was sitting in her German class when (the gunman) barged in and opened fire, killing her and several other people. Her father, David McCain, said he believed Ms. McCain was probably praying for (the gunman) in the final moments of her life.

"She was that kind of girl," he told Fox News in an interview after the shootings. "She believed in Christ and she believed in forgiving. I am so sorry for him and I feel so sorry for the family that will never know the answers."

"I forgive him," he added.

Freshman was 'exception to rule'
USAToday Profile

Lauren McCain loved God.

Yes, she played trumpet and loved music — except country. She played soccer for several years. She adored science fiction movies.

Most of all, the Virginia Tech freshman from Hampton, Va., loved Jesus Christ, those who knew her said. She was an active member of Campus Crusade for Christ.

"Every conversation we had was about God," said Delia D'Auria, the worship pastor's wife at Restoration Church-Phoebus Baptist in Hampton. "There was no opportunity that we spoke that our hearts didn't connect with spiritual matters."

McCain, 20, was home-schooled by her mother before going off to college. "Her only trepidation was faith issues," D'Auria said. "She knew they were going to teach pretty liberally … toward a secular world view."

She planned to major in international studies or German, and she wanted to join the Peace Corps after college. She also wanted to be a mother — "she had a mothering heart," D'Auria said — but figured that could wait.

McCain leaves behind her parents and three siblings, including her brother Joel, whom she called her other hero — besides God.

"She was the one when you needed a friend, she was the friend. As a 20-year-old, she was one of the exceptions to the rule," said retired reverend Leonard Riley. "She was a young lady who loved the Lord Jesus with all of her heart."

Washington Post Profile:

Freshman Lauren McCain claimed two heroes on her MySpace page: Jesus Christ and her brother, Joel.

She loved all music ("except country!") and liked sci-fi movies ("if it has to do with some alternate-reality or post-apocalyptic world, that's great.")

She was an international studies and German major, according to friend and study-mate Matt Croushorn, a fellow member of Campus Crusade for Christ. Croushorn was taking macroeconomics with McCain this semester. He thinks McCain was in her German class at the time of the shootings.

"She was a really nice person. She was smart," he said. "She was fun to talk to."

Croushorn said McCain was the only one of his friends whom he couldn't reach by yesterday morning. When he tried to call her once more, her mother answered.

McCain's mom told him that she still hadn't found her daughter, whose body was not identified until later in the day, he said.

"I just didn't know what to say," Croushorn said.

-- Amy Gardner, The Washington Post

Chronicle of Higher Education Profile:

In a world where people often idolize the rich and famous, Lauren McCain’s hero was her older brother, Joel. And on the same MySpace page where she linked viewers to her brother’s “Most Awesome Website,” the 20-year-old freshman boldly declared Jesus Christ to be “the love of my life.”

“I don’t have to argue religion, philosophy or physical evidence because I KNOW him,” Ms. McCain, an international-studies major, wrote in her online profile. “He is just as real, if not more so, as my ‘earthly’ father.”

Ms. McCain’s deep religious convictions played out in every area of her life, including her extracurricular activities. At Virginia Tech, she was a member of Campus Crusade for Christ, an international ministry group with more than 550 members on campus.

Ms. McCain was an active participant in a Bible study group where she was known for being “the kind of person who always had a smile and a happy spirit,” says Tony Arnold, a spokesman for Campus Crusade for Christ. “It was hard for her friends to keep a sad face if they were with her.”

She loved music, as long as it wasn’t country, according to her online profile, and enjoyed science-fiction movies. She was born in Oklahoma and still has family in Shawnee, which she listed online as her hometown. Her immediate family, however, moved to Hampton, Va., about a decade ago.

A message posted on Ms. McCain’s MySpace page showed that her friends and family are now relying on the same faith that was so much a part of Ms. McCain’s life: “You really loved God and now you can finally dance before him.”

—Audrey Williams June

Remembering a fallen friend at Virginia Tech
Sisters from Hampton recount memories of Lauren McCain, a victim of Monday's Blacksburg shooting.

Daily Press (Virginia)

Sisters Marissa and Katelyn Macri, former home-schooled students from Hampton who are now college students at Barton College and Christopher Newport University (respectively), were friends of Lauren McCain, one of the Virginia Tech students shot to death on campus Monday morning.

In e-mails to Daily Press reporter Mike Holtzclaw, the sisters offered personal recollections of their friend and former soccer teammate.


"Lauren was one of the happiest, most encouraging people I think I knew. She had one of the most interesting senses of humor and was always looking on the bright side of things. I had the opportunity and joy of being able to be good friends with her through high school and I was (and am) so blessed with having the opportunity of knowing her and knowing her so well.

"Lauren was also one of the smartest people I knew. She had such a knowledge for everything - and not even just knowledge, almost more like wisdom. She was most definitely very, very wise beyond her years, and I fell in love with that. I always loved to hear her opinion on things and, yes, sometimes our opinions would differ, but she stuck with what she believed. That made her even more amazing to me, to have such faith in what she believed. I wanted that so bad.

"Lauren was one of the strongest Christians I knew in our youth group as well, which was why she was always so happy and so encouraging - because of her strong walk and faith. Lauren was such an inspiration to me in that sense, because when I would doubt she would always be there with something encouraging to say.

"I would always see Lauren in church and she would always be so happy and almost glowing whenever it would be during worship. She looked like she was enjoying herself so much and she was so happy, right there where she was worshipping God and doing nothing else, and it has always been so amazing to me. I remember seeing her just two Sundays ago, on Easter at church. She was sitting on the left of her row, two rows in front of us, just glowing, literally glowing with joy, worshipping God while her little sister Abby, who she held on to, was singing along with her. She was just so peaceful and happy worshipping her God.

"I will always remember Lauren's huge smile with her big perfectly white straight teeth she had. She was always smiling, and her smile was infectious because it was so genuine and so real and so happy that it was almost impossible to not smile when she got around. Her laugh was so loud and made you laugh even if you thought that the joke wasn't even funny. Because she was laughing, you were laughing."


"Lauren was the most loving person I have ever known in my life. Everyone else came before her and she always put your feelings first. A lot of people say this once people are gone, but she truly loved everyone. There wasn't a mean bone in her body.

"She loved to get into debates, whether it was theological, philosophical, or even simply about a movie. She had a passion for life and for her family. Family came before anything else. Lauren had the biggest smile I've ever seen, and the brightest laughter I've ever heard. When she talked to you, everything was 'awesome!'

"She was an encourager and loved God with all her heart. Everything she did, she did it to God's glory. We were on the church drama team together, and we did a drama to a song called "Legacy" by Nicole Nordeman, and when I think of Lauren I think of these words:

"I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to you enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy
Not well traveled, not well read
Not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead,
'Well done, good and faithful one,'

"I honestly believe that's what she heard when she got to heaven. Well done, good and faithful one.

"I can't sum up who Lauren was in just a sentence or a paragraph. She was so much more. But she truly left a legacy."

"Lauren Ashley McCain just had one of the most infectious personalities I think I've ever met, and I am so thankful that I got the opportunity of being infected by her."

By Mike Holtzclaw

April 19, 2007

Students remembered as solid Christians

The Baptist Press

BLACKSBURG, Va. (BP)--Two more students who died at Virginia Tech April 16 were identified as active members of Southern Baptist churches. Jarrett Lane belonged to First Baptist Church in Narrows, Va., and Lauren McCain was part of Restoration Church Phoebus Baptist in Hampton.

Also among the Virginia Tech students who were Southern Baptists were Rachael Hill, a member of Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Brian Bluhm of Northstar Church in Blacksburg, and Nicole White of Nansemond Baptist Church in Suffolk.


McCain, a freshman international studies major at Virginia Tech, was so loved at her church, Restoration Church Phoebus Baptist in Hampton, that family and friends began gathering there to wait for news about her late Monday night. Her parents had gone to Blacksburg, and by Tuesday at noon there was no official word on her.

As about 50 people gathered in the church sanctuary, a cell phone rang on the back pew, the Daily Press in Hampton, Va., reported. News was that the medical examiner was going to meet with McCain's parents at 1 p.m., and later the group learned they were "95 percent sure" she had been killed.

On her page, McCain had written about the certainty of her faith.

"I don't have to argue religion, philosophy or historical evidence," she wrote, according to the Daily Press, "because I KNOW him."

In a birthday card to a friend recently, McCain had mentioned how wonderful she thought heaven would be, the newspaper said.

"Easter Sunday was the last day I had with Lauren," Cordell Woods, an uncle who was at the church, told the Daily Press. "She was filled with a purpose. There was nothing negative in her life. And that's the way I want to remember her."

McCain's parents released a statement Tuesday afternoon, which said, "We grieve over our great loss, and yet find peace in the reality that God is worthy of our trust and we are sustained in our sorrow by that truth."

On Wednesday night, April 18, about 350 people gathered at the church to celebrate her life. Her mother expressed what she thought her daughter might want to say.

"Come on guys. This is so exciting! Let's praise Him! Let's praise Him!" Sherry McCain said, according to The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Hampton.

David Bounds, pastor of Restoration Church Phoebus Baptist, said the congregation takes comfort in knowing McCain is now where she wanted to be.

"She loved the Lord with all of her heart, and it showed," Bounds said. "She just didn't talk about the Lord; she lived Him."

by Erin Roach

April 20, 2007

Virginia Tech Magazine Profile (5/07)

Lauren Ashley McCain, a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation, was a freshman from Hampton, Va., majoring in international studies. She loved the Virginia Tech campus, her professors, and fellow students and said that Virginia Tech was “almost heaven.” At Tech, she loved those she met with the same love that her God and her hero, Jesus Christ, had shown her and told them about Him.

Lauren took her studies very seriously and strived for excellence. She spoke often with her professors and their teaching assistants and was never satisfied with less than her best. As much as she cared about learning, she cared about people more. She had a quirky sense of humor and love of life that she shared with everyone. Her smile was always bright and ready to cheer those around her. She had the divine ability to make you feel like you were her best friend.

Lauren had many interests and was active in several different organizations and groups on campus. She combined her love of music and physical activity in her daily workouts and runs. She shared many fun times through her involvement with intramural soccer and women’s flag football. She had a long-standing love of the German language and culture and took every opportunity to share that with others. And because of her love of Jesus Christ, she was active in Campus Crusade for Christ, New Life Christian Fellowship, and Bridges International Ministries.

Lauren cared deeply about the international community and she was deeply involved with campus ministries aimed at reaching out to international students. She spoke often of her desire to travel, to study abroad, and to one day live and work in another country and share the love of Christ with those He placed in her life. She saw every person as uniquely valuable, and purposefully invested herself in those she met.

Lauren loved God. She had faith that her savior Jesus Christ had placed her at Virginia Tech with a mission and a purpose: to touch those she met with His love and to glorify Him. She did nothing in her own power but drew close to Him and allowed Him to touch those around her through her words and actions. Lauren’s belief in God and Jesus as her savior is expressed in her own testimony: “I don’t have to argue religion, philosophy, or historical evidence because I KNOW HIM. He is just as real, if not more so, as my earthly father.”

Memorial Scholarship

Through the Virginia Tech Foundation, the Lauren Ashley McCain Memorial Scholarship has been established at Virginia Tech in her memory. For more information and/or to donate to this memorial fund, see VT's Hokie Spirit Memorial Funds page.