Nicole Regina White

Age: 20

Class: Junior

Major: International Studies Minor: Political Science

Hometown: Smithfield, VA

High School: Smithfield (Smithfield, VA) - Class of 2004

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


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Newspaper Remembrance Stories

Smithfield Native Known for Her Love of Animals and the Water
(Roanoke Times Profile)

Nicole White came to Virginia Tech planning to study veterinary science, but later changed to a double major: International studies and German. Still, she was known in her hometown for her love of animals, an affection that was apparent in her after-school activities.

In high school, for example, she worked at a local barn, caring for horses and doing the unenviable work of cleaning stables. When she came to Blacksburg, she volunteered at a stable there as well, according to published reports and her Virginia Tech student profile.

She also loved the water, friends said. She was a trained lifeguard who worked at the Luter Family YMCA in Smithfield and at the Gatling Pointe Yacht Club, both near her home in the suburbs of Newport News. She also taught Sunday School at the Nansemond River Baptist Church in north Suffolk, where her family worshipped.

And Nicole was popular -- her Facebook page, for example, sports 106 friends. She was dating a childhood friend from Smithfield.

-- Andrew Kantor (Roanoke Times, 4/18/07)

New York Times Profile:

She had strawberry blonde hair, a golden smile and loved taking care of animals.

Nicole Regina White, a 20-year-old junior majoring in international studies, was killed inside her German class on the second floor of Norris Hall, the class where (the gunman) exacted his greatest toll.

Originally from the small town of Smithfield in eastern Virginia, Ms. White was a fun-loving honor student who worked summers as a lifeguard. But her main passions were religion and animals. Her family was deeply religious. And in high school she volunteered at barns and stables and cared for horses, Chance Hellmann, a former classmate at Smithfield High School, told The Daily Press of Hampton Roads

On Tuesday, the high school held a moment of silence in her memory at 2 p.m., timed to coincide with the convocation on the campus of Virginia Tech.

German major made time to help others
USAToday Profile

Nicole Regina White, 20, of Smithfield, Va., was a German major at Virginia Tech, after graduating from Smithfield High School with honors in 2004.

The junior was an active member of the Beta Club while at Smithfield High and taught Sunday school at Nansemond River Baptist Church.

She started bringing home stray animals when still a toddler. During high school, she took classes in emergency medical care and volunteered with the local rescue squad, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

The Isle of Wight County Schools released a statement. "She was a good student, very friendly and open … always smiling," said Rebecca Mercer, White's principal in middle and high school.

When home, White worked at the YMCA and the Gatling Pointe Yacht Club. At school, she volunteered at a women's shelter and an animal shelter, The Virginian-Pilot said.

Washington Post Profile:

Nicole R. White was capable of being serious one moment, silly the next.

"You see things, and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?' " reads a quote the 20-year-old junior posted with her Facebook profile. Below it, she added a quote from the quirky comedy "Napoleon Dynamite," which she listed as her favorite movie.

She was a member of the Beta Club at Smithfield High School, and she worked as a lifeguard.

She was close to her family, from her mother back home in Smithfield in eastern Virginia to cousins at various colleges. Multiple cousins posted messages on her Facebook wall Monday morning, begging her to call to confirm that she was safe. By the next morning, cousin Erinn Field posted the bad news: White had been killed in her German class, which she was taking as part of her double major in German and international studies.

Relatives and close friends could not be reached for comment yesterday, but their messages filled her virtual wall alongside pictures of her long red hair and wide smile.

"Nicole was an amazing friend. She was quirky and spontaneous. She never did quite what anyone expected," Melissa Parden wrote.

In her profile, White professed her love for music including Bob Marley, Janis Joplin and Outkast, as well her love of one book -- "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

-- Megan Greenwell, The Washington Post

Chronicle of Higher Education Profile:

You could spot Nicole White, 20, instantly in a lecture hall of 400 students, says her friend, Jamie Kate Diamond. Just look for the brilliant red hair.

Ms. White, a junior from Smithfield, Va., already had plenty of friends at Virginia Tech when Ms. Diamond first met her in an animal-science class several years ago. Ms. Diamond, a shy freshman from Boston, had none.

But Ms. White “introduced me to her many friends and showed me the ropes,” says Ms. Diamond. By chance, the two had all of their first-year classes together, and Ms. Diamond found herself scanning the seats for Ms. White in every classroom.

Ms. White, an international-studies major, was kind to everybody, and self-assured enough to be both “a mother figure” and “a goof,” Ms. Diamond says.

Jessica Fansler, a close friend at Virginia Tech, said in a Facebook message that Ms. White “was the strongest person I ever met.”

“She took me in and basically mothered me, fed me, and took care of me when I had nowhere else to go,” said Ms. Fansler. “She is my best friend, and will always be.”

Outside of class, Ms. White and Ms. Diamond bonded over a shared love of animals.

“She would be like, ‘Oh, I’m adopting a kitten, and I’m getting this abused dog,’ and she loved horses, too,” Ms. Diamond says. “In our animal-science class, we had to deal with sheep and cows, and she’d put these big rubber boots on and get in the dirt. We’d be on the ground wrestling sheep, and she didn’t care.”

Ms. Diamond transferred from Virginia Tech last year, and Ms. White was one of the few friends with whom she stayed in touch. Ms. White would call every week.

“She wasn’t asking me how I was just to ask, either — she really wanted to know,” Ms. Diamond says. “She always called me and always was begging me to come and visit.”

Josh Keller

Smithfield victim remembered

Nicole White "loved life," pastor says

The Daily Press (Virginia)

SUFFOLK -- Nicole Regina White's family imagines that the 20-year-old was helping someone even in her last moments.

White, one of the 32 people gunned down Monday at Virginia Tech, was trained as an emergency medical technician. When she was found, she was clutching another student's ID, said her pastor, Tim Piland.

Emergency responders are trained to find information about someone whom they're trying to help.

"It meant a lot to her family," Piland said. "It was very much in keeping with her personality."

Piland, senior pastor of Nansemond River Baptist Church in Suffolk, and Gary Vaughan, the youth pastor, spoke on behalf of the family Thursday during a news conference at the church. Piland said the family requested privacy for now.

White's family was still in Blacksburg on Thursday morning, waiting for the medical examiner to release her body. She was a junior international studies major, with a minor in political science.

An Isle of Wight County resident, she graduated in 2004 from Smithfield High School, where her brother, Evan, is a senior.

The community is invited to an 11 a.m. Sunday service at the church, where people will remember the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings during the regular worship service.

They can also contribute to a makeshift memorial taking shape outside the church at Bridge and Bennetts Pasture roads.

There, a Virginia Tech banner hangs on a tree. Below it are candles, a dozen long-stemmed red roses -- White was known for her red hair -- and other flowers.

There are also silk flowers shaped into "VT" and spray-painted maroon, orange and silver.

Bows in maroon and orange -- Virginia Tech Hokie colors -- hang on surrounding trees.

In honor of White, Smithfield High students and staff will wear Virginia Tech colors today.

On Thursday, the school issued this statement:

"Known for her intellectual curiosity, her strength of character and her vivacious personality, Nicole is remembered as a student who never shied from a challenge and who worked tirelessly giving back to her school community, fellow classmates and teachers, as well as the greater community of Smithfield."

On Monday, when the shootings occurred, White's family members tried to get in touch with her but kept getting her voice mail.

They called her friends, who said they hadn't heard from her. They called hospitals, but she hadn't been checked in.

Then they learned that she was supposed to be in German class in Norris Hall. The gunman had fired on a German class in Norris Hall.

They were en route to Blacksburg by 5:30 p.m. Monday, Piland said. On Tuesday morning, they received unofficial word from investigators that White was dead, Piland said.

By then, he and Vaughan were in Blacksburg with the family.

"They suffered a great loss," Piland said. "She loved life, she loved people and she loved God. She was a giving person."

Church was a big part of White's life. While in high school, she brought her Smithfield High pals to church with her, and she helped out with the Sunday school program, Vaughan said.

She was a rescuer. Whether it was a person or an animal, she reached out to help, Vaughan said.

She also was the kind of person who wouldn't judge others by how they looked.

"Nicole was just constantly investing in people," Vaughan said. "She really reached out to a broader spectrum of people. She just had a lot of friendships."

By Veronica Gorley

April 20, 2007

Virginia Tech Magazine Profile (5/07)

Nicole Regina White, the daughter of Mike and Tricia White, was born Aug. 23, 1986. A graduate of Smithfield High School, she had one brother, Evan. A junior at Virginia Tech, Nicole was majoring in international studies with a minor in political science.

Nicole was a giving person who, even in high school, completed emergency medical training and served as a volunteer with the Smithfield, Va., Volunteer Rescue Squad. She was active in the YMCA and worked as a lifeguard as well as a swimming instructor. While at Virginia Tech, she was an active volunteer at both the local animal shelter and the battered women’s shelter.

Nicole loved her friends and her friends loved her. She was the type of person who would not judge a person by his or her outward appearance but looked at the person’s heart. She wanted to know people as they really were, not as they appeared.

While living in Smithfield, Nicole faithfully attended Nansemond River Baptist Church in Suffolk, Va., and worked in the outreach program, taking the message of the Gospel and Christ’s love to people in the local area.

“Her family wants everyone to know that Nicole loved the Lord, loved people, and loved working with children. They have suffered a tremendous loss,” says the Rev. Tim Piland, senior pastor of her church.

Memorial Scholarship

Through the Virginia Tech Foundation, the Nicole White 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.