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CEDAR RAPIDS -- A 21-year-old Mount Mercy University student died this week from COVID-19, according to a campus letter from university President Todd Olson.
Ashley Hudson — who Olson said was an “aspiring kindergarten teacher and had dreams of becoming a Mount Mercy graduate” — died Monday as a result of COVID complications.
“I, along with our entire campus community, extend our deepest sympathies to Ashley’s family, friends, faculty and staff, and peers during this profoundly difficult time,” he wrote in his campus letter sent the day she died.
“With a campus as tight-knit as ours, losing a member of our community — especially a student — is deeply painful.”
Mount Mercy held a vigil at the campus’ Chapel of Mercy on Monday, also providing grief counselors for anyone needing them.
“Please join me in lifting up the Hudson family in prayer and honoring Ashley’s memory,” Olson wrote. “As our foundress Catherine McAuley reminds us, ‘A community in which this universal charity reigns is capable of surmounting all difficulties.’”
Hudson, according to her social media accounts, went to Prairie High School and also studied at Kirkwood Community College. She was pursuing a bachelor of elementary education degree, with a minor in early childhood, according to Facebook.
A GoFundMe page set up to help with Hudson’s health care costs reported she was on a ventilator and fighting an infection last week. Friends shared and posted pictures of Hudson as she remained in critical condition.
On Sept. 20, the page organizer posted, “Ashley has moved on from us.”
“God has chosen a different path for her to take. I’m at a complete loss,” he wrote. “Ashley, we all love you so much, I truly can’t see a world without you in it.”
Mount Mercy’s COVID dashboard indicates 21 students or employees have recovered from COVID in 2021, and 270 have since the pandemic began. It reported three students are currently self-isolating with COVID.
Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.
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