Remembering a close friend

By on March 25, 2004

On March 22, Quinnipiac lost one of its shining stars. Sophomore Ryan O’Neil, 20, passed away that day, and there are scarcely words to describe the emotion felt by all who knew him. O’Neil was a Physician Assistant major from Covina, CA, known by everyone as “Cali Ryan” or simply “Cali.”

Cali was the kind of person that you simply could not forget. With his famous mullet and unique style of dress, he stood out in a crowd and drew people to him. He was very charismatic and always had female admirers due to his impeccable charm. Teachers and staff alike share this view of him and enjoyed having him around.

There are not many people in college who know how to play the bagpipes, but Cali was one of them. It added to his individuality and undoubtedly left an impression on anyone who lived around him. He loved all kinds of music and was always open to new experiences.

Many people remember Cali’s reaction to the first snowfall last year. Being from California, he had never really gotten a chance to frolic in snow. Absolutely ecstatic, he used cafeteria trays and other sleds to conquer the hill behind Commons, and then cut his leg while walking back to his dorm. Only Cali could get hurt after the fact.

I met Cali last year when we both lived on the second floor of Commons. He took an immediate liking to me when he found out that I was Scottish. We began to go back and forth with quotes from the movie Braveheart in fake accents. And I must say that his was rather impressive.

When he learned of my love for The Beatles, Cali instant messaged me whenever the clock tower played a Beatles tune. He was a constant friend, always willing to sit in the hallway late at night to talk about anything. Even though we did not live in the same dorm this year, I could always count on Cali to scream out “How ya doin’, Nancy dude?” whenever he saw me.

Cali took initiative this year to start a new club on campus, QU Snow. He was the club president, appealing to SGA when funds were needed and setting up ski trips for club members.

Judging by the high attendance at a gathering Tuesday night, it is easy to see how many people were touched by Ryan. Friends, suitemates, faculty and staff were together in the Complex 80’s lounge to share their thoughts and memories of a man who left too soon. Some of the stories I have already mentioned were told at this gathering, and many more remain in the hearts of all who knew him.

Counseling services will be available for anyone who needs them at extension 8680, and more details will be provided via email with regards to wake and funeral service information.


About Nancy Hall