Almost three years have passed since Bradley mourned the loss of freshman Nasjay Murry in the spring of 2018. This passed October, Jermontay Brock was sentenced to 60 years in prison after being convicted for Nasjay and another man’s murder.
This coming May would have been Nasjay’s graduation. The quiet student, as some described her, had a fun and hardworking side that those close to her still remember her by.
Nasjay was born on June 12, 1999. She grew up in the Hyde Park and Kenwood area in Chicago before deciding to study biomedical science pre-med at Bradley in the fall of 2017.
In high school, she was involved in many after-school activities including band, volunteering, honors society, parent-teacher association, swimming, learning Mandarin and running track.
Her mother, Natalie Hilton, said Nasjay always wanted to learn, explore and experience more. She even transferred to a different high school based on how many extracurricular activities the school provided.
Hilton said that her daughter was different compared to herself; Nasjay was more outgoing and wanted to travel.
“She wasn’t going to live in fear; she was gonna live her life,” Hilton said.
When her younger brother, Tyshon Murry, thinks of his sister, the first thing that comes to mind about his sister is that she was loving and caring. He said Nasjay was the person he would go to if anything was wrong or if he ever needed to talk.
“She was a very silly person,” Tyshon said. “She’ll joke around whenever I’m upset. She was just very happy and goofy.”
One of the earliest memories of Nasjay’s gratitude that Hilton recalled was when she had given her lunch money for the week. Instead of feeding herself, Nasjay donated it to the class pet to make sure it was fed.
“She was a positive person, she never looked down on anyone,” Hilton said. “If we ever saw a homeless person, she would tell me to stop and she would give her change. She was very kind-hearted and generous.”
That caring attitude extended into her studies, Tyshon described her as a perfectionist when it came to academics.
Nasjay wanted to be a doctor; she picked Bradley to be close to her family, but she was also the first of her family to leave home to go to college. Hilton said Nasjay was interested in being a pediatrician or an OB-GYN.
Her adviser at the time, associate biology professor Naomi Stover, said she hoped that Nasjay made friends and adjusted to Bradley in the months she was there.
“She was quiet; she wasn’t one to open up to professors at the time since it was all new,” Stover said. “She seemed pretty reserved but also smart. She was trying to find her footing at the university.”
Her time at Bradley wasn’t long, but the university felt the impact of her death; flags flew at half-staff for three days. There was a vigil at an off campus residence where the Bradley community gathered to mourn her and the other victim.
“There were a lot of students affected [from the event], especially in our department,” Stover said. “There’s nothing that tells you how to deal with that, as a professor or a student. Nothing prepares you for it.”