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Message on the passing of Brenna Jean Vorhis

The following message was sent to the William & Mary community on Jan. 15, 2013 - Ed.

Dear W&M Community,

A memorial service for Brenna Jean Vorhis will be held on campus next week -- Friday, January 25, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. in the Commonwealth Auditorium of the Sadler Center. Please join Brenna’s family, her friends, and others from within and beyond the university community as we gather to celebrate her life. 

Expressions of Sympathy

Brenna's obituary appears this week in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to the Richmond SPCA, Robins-Starr Humane Center, 2519 Hermitage Road, Richmond, Va. 23220.  Cards and letters of condolence for Brenna's family may be sent to 1630 Nottoway Ave, Richmond VA 23227.

Our thoughts continue to be with Brenna's family and friends during this very difficult time.


Ginger Ambler


The following message was sent to the William & Mary community on Jan. 11, 2013 - Ed.

Dear William & Mary Community,

Brenna Jean VorhisIt is with much sadness that I write to tell you of the death of one of our students.  Last night I learned that that Brenna Jean Vorhis passed away unexpectedly earlier this week.  While the cause of death must be confirmed by a medical examiner, our understanding from friends and family is that Brenna went home Monday feeling ill after having lunch with friends.  She passed away at home shortly thereafter.

Brenna had dreamed of coming to William & Mary since middle school.  After graduating from Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, VA, she came to William & Mary in 2008, graduating with a degree in Government in May 2012. As an undergraduate, Brenna’s talent for public policy was evident in her clear and concise analysis of government policy.  One of Brenna’s undergraduate professors remembers how “Brenna’s eyes genuinely lit up whenever she talked about politics inside the beltway.”  She returned to campus only months after graduation to pursue graduate study in the Thomas Jefferson Public Policy Program.  One of Brenna’s professors describes her as “an extremely intelligent, engaging and thoughtful young woman who consistently made our class better by being there.”  In addition to excelling in the classroom, Brenna was a dedicated graduate assistant for the Office of Economic Development.  Her valuable contributions to that office resulted in an Outstanding Graduate Assistantship award this past fall.  She also served as an intern with State Senator John Miller and played the flute and piccolo as a member of the William & Mary Symphony.

We do not yet have information from Brenna’s family about funeral arrangements, and her many William &Mary friends are beginning now to plan an on-campus memorial service to celebrate her life.  Once those details are finalized, I will let you know. Brenna is survived by her mother, Patricia Murphy, her father and stepmother, Richard and Sarah Vorhis, and her brother, Kevin.

Brenna’s death is a tremendous loss to our community.  Please join me in extending deepest sympathy to her family and friends. 


Ginger Ambler