App State student who died from COVID-19 memorialized with scholarship fund


Courtesy of Kade Compton

Chad Dorrill was a sophomore at App State before he died of COVID-19 complications. He was 19-years-old.

Moss Brennan, Reporter

When App State sophomore Chad Dorrill died due to COVID-19 complications in late September, friends of the family wanted to do something to remember him. 

Knowing how hard Dorrill worked and how much he loved school, Zach Nichols, a friend of the family, helped create The Chad Dorrill Memorial Scholarship Fund

“Chad’s legacy could kind of live on and be able to give opportunities to other kids who are seeking to continue their education,” Nichols said. 

The fund will award two scholarships to high school seniors from Davidson County, where he lived, for the next 10 years. The number of years represents Chad Dorrill’s high school basketball jersey number, a sport he loved, according to his mother, Susan Dorrill. 

Susan Dorrill is thankful for the work her neighbors and friends put into getting the fund up and running.

“Chad was just so determined,” she said. “We knew that he was going to graduate. He had his mind set. We just want to be able to help someone achieve something that he wasn’t able to do.”

The scholarships will be based on character and teacher recommendation. The family is not sure how much money the scholarship will give to those who earn it as it will depend on how much the fund raises. 

The public GoFundMe for the scholarship fund has raised $7,800 since early December. The scholarship fund started as a private account that Susan Dorrill said is “generously funded” by other donors. 

Nichols said the “outpouring of support” for the fund was overwhelming especially considering the financial struggles many people have faced due to COVID-19. 

“We live in a very large, tight-knit community,” Nichols said. “The outpouring of support for this has been remarkable and truly inspiring. I think it really says a lot about who Chad was, as a human being. I mean, truly just an amazing kid.”

Chad Dorrill died Sept. 28 at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem due to rare complications with COVID-19. 

When he started to feel unwell, Chad Dorrill went back to his home to get tested for COVID-19 and isolate, according to an email Chancellor Sheri Everts sent out after his death.

After he returned to Boone, he had additional complications and was picked up by his family before being hospitalized. He was 19 years old when he died. 

Susan Dorrill described her son as silly, shy and kind. She remembered that he was voted as the class clown in both his high school and middle school yearbooks. 

“When other people would have shown anger towards somebody, he always stopped and said, ‘No, I’m going to keep being nice to them, and turn things around that way,’” Susan Dorrill said. 

The family asks that people continue wearing masks and preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

“In honor of our beloved son, we continue to ask all college students living on and off college campuses around the country to please continue to wear your masks and quarantine if you are positive or waiting for results,” the GoFundMe states. “Please do not put your friends’ or classmates’ life in danger as each person can react so differently to this virus.”

For Susan Dorrill, seeing pictures on social media of people partying in Boone and packing bars hurt. 

“Those pictures killed me because their classmate — I know that they didn’t know him — but it was just a stab in the heart to see that it mattered so little,” Susan Dorrill said. 

Susan Dorrill said it’s heartbreaking to her that he did not get to experience the regular college life.

“When he did his official tour (at App State) for senior year, he turned to us and he said ‘I don’t need to look anywhere else. I know this is where I want to be. This is it,’” Susan Dorrill said. “When he got in, he was so happy and excited and it felt like home.”

She said she is thankful he got to experience one regular semester during his freshman year with football games and experience a winter in Boone. 

Those wishing to donate to the The Chad Dorrill Memorial Scholarship Fund can donate through the GoFundMe page here: