Montclair State Community Mourns Loss of First-Year Theater and Dance Student

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Published February 21, 2021
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The Montclarion
Olivia Morro was a resident of Dinallo Heights throughout her freshman year of college. Corey Annan | The Montclarion

The Montclair State University community is mourning the loss of Olivia “Liv” Morro, a first-year theater and dance major who unexpectedly passed on Feb. 10.

Morro was 18 years old and resided in Brielle, New Jersey.

On that night, an announcement was made from the public address system (PA) inside the dorm rooms of Dinallo Heights stating, “Can I have your attention, please? There is a medical emergency in the building, all students should stay inside their dorm rooms.”

About 20 minutes later, the PA system advised students that they could return to their regularly scheduled duties.

The same day, the Montclair State student body received an email about Morro’s death, offering condolences and support to those who knew and cared about Morro.

Theater studies program coordinator, Jessica Brater, organized a Zoom meeting to provide resources. There she offered support, a sense of community and togetherness for the students who knew Morro on Feb. 12.

Susan Knight, a theater and dance professor at Montclair State, appreciated having Morro in class. Knight attended the support meeting held for the department and was pleased by how many people shared their memories and thoughts.

“One of the things that came across so much, which I would definitely say, is her smile,” Knight said. “I wouldn’t describe her as a smiley person, you know what I mean? It was one of those [smiles] when it was there, it was sly and knowing. There was this intelligence about her that really came across in our one-on-one discussions.”

Knight co-taught Morro’s Acting I course with adjunct theater and dance professor Marcus Harvey, who also attended the support meeting held on Feb. 12. Harvey saw Morro as a cheerleader for her peers.

“She created a community space for her classmates to have,” Harvey said. “She lived fearlessly, in a way that most people are afraid to. She created these relationships with people that were unlike her.”

Danielle Tufariello, a first-year psychology major at Montclair State, met Morro on the first day of the fall semester.

“One of the first weeks on campus she introduced me to her friend group and we stayed up until four in the morning just talking,” Tufariello said. “She was very funny and loud, she was always able to light up a room and make people smile.”

Tufariello believed that Morro was supportive and compassionate.

“She was someone I could talk to about anything I was going through,” Tufariello said. “She was there to listen and give me advice about something, and helped me realize it’s okay to go through things, you don’t have to struggle alone.”

The university has not made a statement regarding a memorial or subsequent support meetings held for those outside the theater department.

In lieu of flowers, you can donate to the Olivia “Liv” Morro Memorial Fund for the MHS Drama Club organized by Brooke Finnen on gofund.me. To send condolences to the family please visit www.orenderfamilyhome.net

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