A quiet chapel, filled with family, friends, sorority sisters, professors, and advisors. A beautiful spring day to celebrate a beautiful life. A campus coming together to mourn and honor a kind and loved young woman who felt like she had found her home at Sacred Heart.
In May 2018, Audrey Niblo passed away suddenly due to an undiagnosed heart condition. Her memory and values live on in the form of the people who knew her, and through this page in The Spectrum.
Audrey was part of many families during her time at SHU. In one aspect, Spectrum was her family, and the students who were part of the staff in May 2018, as well as Faculty Advisor Prof. Kabak, played a significant role in creating Audrey’s Corner. Audrey was also part of the sorority Theta Phi Alpha, and her sisters served as another SHU family.
To open Audrey’s Corner this semester, I wanted to write about her first family: her siblings Cassidy, Glenn and Nicole, and her parents Laurie and John.
Over a series of Zoom interviews, I learned more about Audrey, her family and her passions. Many previous publications have used her passions as inspiration, such as a photo display of pets and multiple articles on kindness and positivity. In addition to being a lover of pets and kindness, Audrey was a cheerleader who never gave up, a creative writer, and a talented photographer.
But her personality goes beyond what she loved to do—she loved to be a cheerleader for everyone, no matter if they were her siblings, peers or friends. She took her passion for writing to another level by joining Spectrum as a staff writer. And she hadn’t always been interested in media: her first career choice was to be a physical therapist.
Throughout each interview, there were moments of reminiscing and telling both funny and courageous stories about Audrey. Some recurring themes I noticed during our conversations include determination, courage and kindness—themes which Audrey’s Corner tries to emulate.
And this may sound cliché, but another repeated topic was individuality. As her father, John, put it, Audrey was never afraid to be herself and “wouldn’t let anything hold her back.” Her mother, Laurie, also described her as “unique, a little bit quirky,” and I think we can all learn from Audrey’s personality and how to be truly, unapologetically ourselves.
Despite struggling throughout elementary school—Audrey had difficulty with her fine motor skills and was bullied—she never became hateful or angry, instead staying steadfastly kind, strong and patient. With the help of teachers, friends and her family, Audrey remained a determined and bright student. Above all, she never gave up, and this attitude continues to serve as a powerful motivator for her siblings and parents.
When reflecting on Audrey’s fortitude, one story that sticks in my mind involves her time as a competitive cheerleader. Nearly every member of her family recalled a similar story of her attempts to perform a back handspring. As someone who used to take gymnastics, I know that back handsprings are very difficult to achieve. But Audrey was relentless in her pursuit of one despite—or perhaps because of—the challenge.
Another oft-told story was about Audrey’s water-skiing adventures. Whenever the Niblo family went water-skiing together, Audrey would try to perfect her balance—another difficult feat. No matter how many times she fell down, she would get back up and try again, never becoming frustrated or bitter. And all that practice paid off—during one trip, she was able to balance on the water skis, and it was all due to her determination and hard work.
Audrey was very successful in her last year at SHU. While she first went to St. Bonaventure University, she transferred to SHU for her second semester, and it’s here that she felt most at home. As John Niblo put it: the happiest times for him were when Audrey was too busy for her immediate family because she was spending time with her SHU family.
Hearing about Audrey’s determination and achievements was inspiring, and I hope it inspires you as well. It was a truly uplifting experience to meet her siblings and parents, and I am grateful for everyone who has—and continues to—support Audrey’s Corner and the Niblo family.
Next week: Part 2 of the Niblo family interviews, including some exciting future plans for Audrey’s Corner!