Elizabeth or Betsy McCandless was a 1971 graduate of Simmons College where she earned a BA and later completed a graduate degree in counseling from Northeastern University. She was a highly educated and talented woman and had many friends who were drawn to her fun sense of humor.
At the age of forty-two, she was quickly swept off her feet by a man and was married in three months. Not soon after, he began his reign of terror of power and control. His excuse was love. He stole everything that was dear to her. It wasn't until six months later, with a help of a friend, she escaped and went into hiding. Betsy filed a restraining order, criminal charges and for divorce. This did not stop him. One night, after coming back from a domestic violence support group, Betsy decided that she felt strong enough to return to her apartment to retrieve her mail. Her ex-husband, who in the name of love, tormented her throughout the relationship, shot and killed her and then killed himself.
News of her death rocked the Simmons College campus and brought to bear, front and center, the deadly results of domestic violence. In an effort to memorialize Betsy and to recognize the serious problem of domestic violence that ended her vibrant life so abruptly, her classmates rallied to raise money in her name.