Family mourns student death

David Olsen, a 24-year-old from New Jersey, died from an accidental overdose.

David Olsen, a 24-year-old from New Jersey, died from an accidental overdose.

David Olsen, a senior political science major with a minor in criminal justice, died Sept. 30 at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He was 24 years old.

“He was just a bright, sunny boy with a zest for life,” Olsen’s aunt, Jeanne Olsen, said in an e-mail.

Olsen’s family said they were told  he passed away due to an “accidental overdose.”

“He was such a sweet child, and I never saw him angry or frown,” she added. “He had a smile as big as the ocean, and that is all I can still see him doing to this moment, smiling from ear to ear.”

According to his family, Olsen taught himself to play several instruments, including the drums, keyboard and ukulele.

Olsen regularly attended church and was a religious individual, family members said. He was an advocate for individuals with mental disabilities.

He also set “very high” standards for his schoolwork and maintained a 3.5 grade point average at Temple, according to his eulogy.

“David was pretty quiet, but when he did speak up, it was clear that he was a very bright kid,” said Kevin Arceneaux, an associate professor of political science who taught Olsen last semester.

“It’s very sad to hear the news,” Arceneaux added. “He seemed like he had potential, hopes and dreams and optimism for the future.”

Olsen’s résumé stated that he was a detail-oriented person, who could prioritize multiple projects, learn new concepts quickly and maintain composure in demanding situations.

“He was known for his wit in conversation and his belief that whatever we can do, he can do it better, with humor and smiles,” his eulogy stated.

Olsen had a steady girlfriend of four years, Ngoc Nguyen, a recent Temple alumna, his family said.

He is survived by his father, Carl, his mother, Kathleen, and brother, Matthew, all of Estell Manor, N.J.

His memorial viewing and service were held on Oct. 9 in Tuckahoe, N.J.

Connor Showalter can be reached at

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