Honoring Riley's Legacy

Riley Watkins was a once in a generation kind of person; she is a soul whose spirit will continue to be celebrated by all who knew her. To say Riley was loved by her friends would be an understatement. She was a loyal daughter, a loving sister, and a kind friend. At the age of 16, Riley was dealt a hand of circumstances that most teenagers will never encounter. Riley was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, and instead of being defined by it, she used it as motivation to cement her legacy, one that Chi Omega will proudly carry on for generations of Sisters who call Chapel Hill home.

Riley’s legacy encourages us to continue to live our lives to the fullest. She enjoyed life’s simple treasures. From swimming and being near the water with her Camp Seafarer friends, to learning to play Mahjong with her grandmother, she always had a smile on her face. Riley was a voracious reader, lover of good food, and spirited competitor. Riley was happiest when spending time with those she loved most, her mother and father, Heather and David, and her siblings, Tinsley and Stokes.

Riley will be known for so many wonderful contributions, her bravery, and her kindness. She often spoke about how she knew Chi O was the one for her during recruitment, because even though she was going through chemotherapy, she felt welcomed and embraced by her future Sisters. Riley was sure to pay that forward to every Sister, from every generation, that she met. We welcome you to cherish the special moments that you had with Riley and let her continue to inspire you moving forward.

Riley Watkins Memorial Fund

Riley's love for reading was fierce. One of her favorite things to do was to get lost in the pages of a good book. This last year in particular, reading provided solace and a continuous source of joy for Riley. She shared her passion for books with all who knew her. As a way to honor Riley's spirit and enduring legacy, we will be creating the Riley Watkins Memorial Library at the Epsilon Beta chapter house. She will forever be a part of the home that welcomed her with open arms and brought her so much happiness. Donations to the memorial fund will help provide a space where Sisters can gather to remember Riley and do one of her favorite things, read. 

Campus Involvement is a point of pride for Chi Omegas, and many Epsilon Beta Sisters hold leadership positions outside of their roles in Chi Omega. Riley's passion for being a member and student leader in Chi Omega could only be matched with her passion for ensuring any student at Carolina could afford the full Tar Heel experience. In one of her last journal entries from her Caring Bridge website, Riley wrote "If each day was an individual suitcase, I am trying to stuff mine with as much excitement as possible. And I’ve loved every minute." She recognized that some of her peers work to support themselves financially through college, and are thus unable to participate as deeply in student organizations, club sports, or student government as they desire. As we mourn the loss of our Sister, donations to fund the Riley Watkins Memorial Fund will also work to fulfill Riley's dream of ensuring that financial barriers do not hinder a passion for student leadership and giving back to Carolina's student community.

To all who loved her, thank you. We appreciate your consideration of honoring Riley’s memory through a donation to her Memorial Fund.

Recent Updates

Recent Donors

Recent Pledges