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Candlelight vigil honors Cal Poly student Brett Olson

A memorial vigil was held at the University Union Plaza for Brett Olson, the 20-year-old Cal Poly student who died after attending a river float on the Sacramento River near Chico over Labor Day weekend. Michael Olson, Brett's father, spoke at the vigil also attended by his wife, Elizabeth, and Brett's brothers, Nick and Luke.
9-14-2012
David Middlecamp
A memorial vigil was held at the University Union Plaza for Brett Olson, the 20-year-old Cal Poly student who died after attending a river float on the Sacramento River near Chico over Labor Day weekend. Michael Olson, Brett's father, spoke at the vigil also attended by his wife, Elizabeth, and Brett's brothers, Nick and Luke. 9-14-2012 David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

More than 200 people attended a candlelight vigil for Cal Poly student Brett Olson on Monday night at University Union Plaza.

The vigil was held about two weeks after the 20-year-old theater major disappeared while participating in an annual float on Labor Day weekend with thousands of other young adults on the Sacramento River in Northern California.

On Monday, Olson’s father spoke about his son’s lifelong love of acting.

“I miss him terribly,” said Michael Olson, who attended the vigil with his wife, Elizabeth, and Brett’s brothers, Nick and Luke.

Other speakers included Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong, Director of Student Life & Leadership Stephan Lamb and faculty members James Cushing and Josh Machamer.

Olson was last seen Sept. 2 on Beer Can Beach, an area close to Scotty’s Boat Landing on the east bank of the river near the town of Hamilton City, west of Chico. His body was found a week later.

Candlelight vigils were held last week in Chico and Olson’s hometown of Lafayette, where a memorial service was held Saturday.

Olson was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Cal Poly.

A massive volunteer effort was organized in response to his disappearance, including searches around the river and into downtown Chico. In addition, more than 90,000 people joined a Facebook page that was created shortly after Olson was reported missing, and the search gained national attention.

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