The government of Nova Scotia offers its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the victims of the tragic shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Among the victims is former Colchester County resident Jocelyne Couture-Nowak. Mrs. Couture-Nowak taught French for a number of years at Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Bible Hill before moving to be a French professor at Virginia Tech in 2001. “This tragic event has touched the lives of many people, particularly those who knew Mrs. Couture-Nowak and her family,” said Premier Rodney MacDonald. “We offer our deepest sympathies to the Nowak family and to all those whose lives she touched when she lived in the Truro area as a professor of French and a mentor for francophone Nova Scotians. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this terrible time, as they are for all our American neighbours.” Mrs. Couture-Nowak’s husband Jerzy Nowak had been a professor and department head at Nova Scotia Agricultural College until 2001, when he became head of the department of Horticulture at Virginia Tech. Over the past several years, the Nova Scotia Agriculture College and Virginia Tech have partnered on an international academic program with a focus on sustainable agriculture and aquaculture. “We are also relieved to know that the three NSAC students, two from Nova Scotia and one from Prince Edward Island, who are currently at Virginia Tech as part of this exchange program, are safe,” said Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor. “We are shocked by this sad, horrible and senseless act. We hope that the families and friends gain strength from one another and know that so many people are thinking of their well-being at this time,” said Mr. Taylor. “The Acadian and francophone community are saddened by the loss of Mrs. Couture-Nowak,” said Chris d’Entremont, Minister of Acadian Affairs. “She has made a great contribution to the francophone community, particularly with the development of École acadienne in Truro, and she will be sadly missed.” Counselling assistance for NSAC faculty and staff has been made available. A community memorial service in the Alumni Theatre at NSAC is planned for Friday at 1 p.m.