Her life was filled with academic achievements and endless promise: the as-yet-unfound boyfriend she had longed for, the Christianity that intrigued her, the foods she enjoyed so much, photos of which she posted on Facebook, and the city that drew her for study.
Last October, Lu Lingzi put pictures on Facebook under the heading “New Beginning in BU.” Alternately winsome (pursing her lips for a close-up), happy (smiling for the camera at a table, chin propped in her hand), or just grinning with friends or alone by a pond, her 23-year-old’s face appeared untouched by troubles or years.
“I love the Charles River at night!” she posted exuberantly a few days after that first photo batch. She also loved playing the online game Candy Crush with her friend Penchan Arunrerk (SED’13).
“I plan to stop the game from now on,” Arunrerk says. “I cannot imagine how her family would feel. I don’t know why this unlucky thing had to happen to her.”
That question touched off global grieving for Lu (GRS’14), a graduate student in statistics, when she was identified as one of the three killed by blasts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday. Comments poured in to BU Today following the announcement of her death, and more than 100,000 users of Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, mourned her passing, the New Yorker reports.
In a statement provided to Boston University, Lu’s family wrote, “We are grieving and at a loss for words to describe the pain and sadness we are experiencing following the sudden passing of our dear daughter, Lingzi. She was the joy of our lives.” The family expressed gratitude for the assistance they have received from the Chinese government, the U.S. State Department, the Boston Police Department, and Boston University. “We are humbled by the compassion, caring, and love we have received from people all over the world….We wish to extend our thoughts, prayers, and sympathy to the other victims of this tragedy and to their families.”
The New York Times writes that Lu’s Chinese hometown newspaper darkened its website to honor a native “who passed away in a faraway place.”
Minhui Zheng recalls a classmate who tried to rise at 7 a.m. (“If she got up at 8, she’d say, ‘I got up late.’”) and would always save Zheng a seat in class. “She was like my speaker,” says Zheng (GRS’14). “She always speaks everything so I didn’t need to say anything. She started to call me Jing Jing, the name of her dog back home. She misses her dog so much.”
Menghan Hu calls Lu her ballast on difficult days of study. “I was so stressed and worried, but she was so optimistic,” says Hu (CAS’13, GRS’13). She also had a sweet tooth. “She always talked about ice cream,” Hu says. “She could eat a jar by herself. She loved green tea and all the Ben & Jerry’s flavors.”
Lu was known for her unrelenting work ethic both in and out of the classroom. Originally from Shenyang, which is described by the Times as “a rust-belt hometown” in China, Lu studied international trade at the Beijing Institute of Technology. She came to BU to pursue statistics, where she excelled in her classes, says Tasso Kaper, a College of Arts & Sciences professor and chair of mathematics and statistics. The day before the Marathon, Lu learned that she had passed the first part of the master’s comprehensive examination in statistics. An email from her showed that “she was clearly quite pleased,” says Kaper.
She also played the piano, says Youming Liu (GRS’14). “She took piano class here, even though she took four courses.”
“Clearly, Lu Lingzi was in the full glory of an extremely successful year as an MA student, with an extremely bright future ahead of her,” says Kaper. “For us, it is a great personal and professional tragedy to learn that such a bright and energetic young scientist has died. To make matters worse, she had many friends in our department, in actuarial science, and in other departments.”
Among the outpourings on Weibo, the Times reports one that poignantly captured the human evil that cut short her life:
“You are in heaven now, where there are no bombs.”
Donations to a BU memorial scholarship in Lu’s name can be made here.