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Promise and Potential, Cut Short

Friends, family, teachers mourn BU grad student Lu Lingzi

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.”

Lu Lingzi, Boston University

Friends describe Lu as optimistic and hardworking. Photo courtesy of Menghan Hu (CAS’13, GRS’13)

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.

Lu Lingzi memorial, Marsh Plaza, Boston Marathon bombing terrorist attack victim

Meihua Lai (CAS’16) (left) and Shuang Hao (COM’16) place flowers at an impromptu memorial for Lu Lingzi (GRS’14) at the base of the Free at Last sculpture in Marsh Plaza on Wednesday. Hao says she felt moved by a recent post on Lu's Facebook page, which read, “If I graduate from here successfully, I will get a good job. If I don’t, I’ll have a brave soul.” Photo by Cydney Scott

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.

Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

130 Comments on Promise and Potential, Cut Short

  • Ashley on 04.18.2013 at 12:36 am

    My condolences to the family and friends of this wonderful young woman. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • hokachuu on 04.18.2013 at 1:05 am

    God bless you!!

  • chao on 04.18.2013 at 1:39 am

    May her rest in peace. We will all miss you.

  • Hans Qiang on 04.18.2013 at 5:18 am

    My deepest condolenced to her family and friends in China. Also, these go to other victims of this tragic event. Like people say, there are no bombs in the heaven. May you rest in the paradise.

  • TIAN Tian on 04.18.2013 at 5:38 am

    I just cannot understand even a little bit why this happened to innocent people and city. Sincere condolences to the victims including the poor Chinese girl as well as to the injured. I believe such hideous action will not defeat people’s will neither the community spirit.

  • MS. WASHINGTON on 04.18.2013 at 7:13 am

    Though I will never get to meet you, the story of your life is inspiring! May the grace of God be with your family during this horrible time. Another promising life snuffed out by evil.

    • Johnson on 04.18.2013 at 10:42 am

      Dear lv, Peace be with you in heaven! I will hold your family and friends in my thoughts and prayers.

  • bu parent on 04.18.2013 at 7:36 am

    What a sweetheart! What a tragic loss! My condolences and heartfelt prayers go out to family and friends.

  • Kevin on 04.18.2013 at 7:46 am

    This news makes me want to cry!! RIP!

    • Anna on 04.20.2013 at 10:04 pm

      I am crying…

  • Richard on 04.18.2013 at 8:16 am

    RIP. This girl was clearly going to be a huge success. May they bring the one who cut this beautiful life short, to justice. My deepest condolences to her friends and family.

    • CancunSteve on 04.18.2013 at 8:29 pm

      Amen. This lovely child is in heaven. May the responsible coward fry in hell.

  • Linlin on 04.18.2013 at 8:22 am

    A beautiful life lost in such tragic way. May the Lord give peace to her family and friends.

  • Catherine on 04.18.2013 at 8:42 am

    Words cannot express the sorrow and pain I feel for all of the victims of this tragedy. We are thinking of you. “Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again,after moments or lifetimes,is certain for those who are friends”- Bach.

  • Dr. Paula Quatromoni on 04.18.2013 at 8:50 am

    Such a tragic loss for a loving family and for the University that was supporting this young woman to realize her dreams in life. May God be with her family at this most difficult time of grief, and may He welcome her with eternal blessings and peace.

  • Tony on 04.18.2013 at 8:53 am

    May her peace in the heaven.

  • liujinhu on 04.18.2013 at 8:59 am

    wish God bless her.

  • Deb on 04.18.2013 at 8:59 am

    From one university to another, our hearts go out to her family, friends and the entire Boston University community. Our deepest sympathy and prayers for your healing.

  • fellow student on 04.18.2013 at 9:01 am

    To all the friends of Lingzi: BU and Boston are here for you. If you want to talk about this, or if you just want to spend time with someone, please ask. This is a sad, sad event for all of us, and we want you all to know that we are here for one another and we want to help. Thank you.

  • meredear @ BU on 04.18.2013 at 9:05 am

    May you rest in peace Lingzi. You will always be in our memories and hopefully will be an inspiration for us to go after our dreams– the way you seem to have done in yours. May your family and friends find the strength to embrace peace and life after dealing with such a tragedy.

  • Ace on 04.18.2013 at 9:35 am

    Rest in peace and god bless her family

  • Kanabar on 04.18.2013 at 9:48 am

    Lingzi – Rest in Peace. From what we read and hear she had a short stay here on Earth (and especially Boston) but appears to have lived a good life that communicates “no regrets”.

  • Eric on 04.18.2013 at 9:52 am

    Such a sweet and brilliant girl. This is so sad. Pray for her family.

  • Diane and Raphael Constantino on 04.18.2013 at 9:52 am

    As BU professors and parents ourselves, we are deeply affect by the loss of Lu. May her parents, family and friends know that she is being honored by all of us here at BU.

  • Mary on 04.18.2013 at 9:54 am

    My sorrow and condolences go out to Lingzi’s family and friends.
    I can not imagine how hard this must be- I wish you strength to get through this.

  • H Yuan on 04.18.2013 at 10:06 am

    In this heartbreaking moment, my prayers go out to Lingzi and her family and all the families and friends who lost their loved one in this killing. She was such a beautiful and intelligent girl. May the graces of God be with Lingzi’s family always.

  • yan on 04.18.2013 at 10:06 am

    I always take a glimpse from my window to see the warm-colored lamp in your room and I know when there is a shadow on the window-shades I know that you are sitting at the desk I set with your uncle when you moved in, when the light is off you may sit in your bed with an iPad with you refreshing the page on Weibo before sleep. You wake every morning, roll up the window-shades, face the window where you put a mirror and make up yourself.
    I always wave to you when I see you through that window but I didn’t realize that friday is the last time we greet each other at such a familiar spot.
    You told me you will take the Stats Theory qualifying exam this Saturday and then you can enjoy your life in U.S. next semester since there is only 1 course left before graduation. You said the winter here is too long and spring finally comes. You said you finally can plan to travel somewhere. You said you won’t go back to china and want me to help you find a part-time job on campus to cover the living expenses here. You said we can prepare our 582 final together…

    RIP, Lingzi, I pray for you.

    • Jack on 04.18.2013 at 12:49 pm

      Such vivid description….. She seemed to be alive again. Thank you Yan!
      RIP Lingzi!

  • BU '13 on 04.18.2013 at 10:07 am

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
    We will remember them.

    -Laurence Binyon

  • seanj on 04.18.2013 at 10:09 am

    Awful, respects to her and her family.

  • Cara on 04.18.2013 at 10:11 am

    May her rest in peace. Can’t imagine how her parents would feel. This is a hard time for all. Lets be strong.

  • Mike on 04.18.2013 at 10:37 am

    She sounds like an amazing person. This is everyone’s loss.

    Thank you for posting photos of her. It puts a face to her name.

    God Bless her.

  • Steven on 04.18.2013 at 10:37 am

    God bless you, you are not alone. R.I.P

  • Cynthia Kowal on 04.18.2013 at 10:45 am

    A short but full message of deeply felt condolence to the family and friends of Lu Lingzi.

  • Sandra Tavegia MS,CIS '07 on 04.18.2013 at 10:47 am

    To the parents of such a beautiful young woman – thank you for being such wonderful parents. My prayers are with you.

  • Kevin Xu on 04.18.2013 at 10:53 am

    Wish God Bless Her With Peace In The Paradise!

  • Diane and Raphael Constantino on 04.18.2013 at 10:55 am

    As professors and parents ourselves, we are deeply saddened by the loss of Lu. May her parents, family, and friends know that she is being honored by all of us here at BU. Our thanks to Rich Barlow for presenting her beauty to us in this article.

  • Lisa Jazwell on 04.18.2013 at 10:58 am

    God bless you and all the victims.

  • Sophomore on 04.18.2013 at 11:02 am

    My deepest condolences. We should all try to learn not to take anything for granted and that every day is a blessing.

  • Nimisha on 04.18.2013 at 11:03 am

    May your soul Rest in Peace Lingzi. I pray for all the victims to get justice.

  • John T. Kelley on 04.18.2013 at 11:08 am

    Her ” journey of a thousand miles” has ended. May she walk in the shadow of the Lord. Pax vobiscum. CAS ’66.

  • MiaT on 04.18.2013 at 11:25 am

    My heart aches for her family and loved ones… I pray that someday they may find peace and solace for what’s happened. I pray that their hearts will not harden and to focus on what she has brought into this world. I pray for love and peace so that this type of senseless tragedy is not what we wake up to every morning. I pray. I pray.

    Rest in peace, my dear child of God.

  • CeCe on 04.18.2013 at 11:48 am

    Grieving for everyone who knew Lu and praying for her family during this terrible time.

  • yyhe on 04.18.2013 at 12:22 pm


  • Jack on 04.18.2013 at 12:36 pm

    Rest in peace.

  • SW on 04.18.2013 at 12:36 pm

    Writing this in Dresden. RIP.

  • Sheng on 04.18.2013 at 12:46 pm

    Never meet you, maybe brush past you. R.I.P.

    从未相见,但或擦肩。 R.I.P.

  • Sky Yang on 04.18.2013 at 12:48 pm

    Lingzi’s life will be honored and remembered. My deepest condolences to the Lu family. Keeping you in my prayers.

  • 大麻 on 04.18.2013 at 12:56 pm


  • Melissa Shenian on 04.18.2013 at 1:07 pm

    I’m so sorry for the loss of this wonderful ray of sunshine. My condolences to family and friends.

  • S on 04.18.2013 at 1:15 pm


  • Hao on 04.18.2013 at 1:16 pm

    I will pray for you and your family. God bless you!

  • Andrea on 04.18.2013 at 1:19 pm

    my heart goes out to Lu and her family. We will keep her and her family in our thoughts.

  • Lesley on 04.18.2013 at 1:55 pm

    I wish I had a chance to meet Lingzi before the tragic incident took her away. RIP

  • Matt on 04.18.2013 at 2:01 pm

    RIP Lu Lingzi <3

  • Yan & Lin on 04.18.2013 at 2:03 pm

    You left but your laughter still around
    You left but your beauty still around
    You left but our love will go with you forever! May God bless you!

    • Winston on 04.23.2013 at 2:02 am

      Beautiful! You said it well and for us all.
      I would like to add:
      You left but your smile is the lasting image with us forever.
      RIP, Lingzi. You are at better place.

  • A Boston University Parent on 04.18.2013 at 2:16 pm

    To the Parents of Lu Lingzi- Please know that all of the parents of Boston University students grieve with you. It is a gift to have a daughter like yours, warm, smart and talented. Thank you for sharing her with us. Our hearts are with you and your family. – A Boston University Parent

  • Maggie on 04.18.2013 at 2:27 pm

    can’t stop crying…… Shenyang is my second hometown, I will go back and take a look at it for you. Lots of my current and previous classmates know you. R.I.P!

  • Julia on 04.18.2013 at 2:51 pm

    She seems like she was lovely. I would have liked to know her. She shouldn’t have been taken away from us.

  • bob on 04.18.2013 at 3:59 pm

    It’s so sad to know a great loss of such beautiful girl, LingZi, you were from the same hometown as mine though we didn’t know each other. You are an angel and you don’t know that you are living a such dangerous place. I have no words to express my sadness and wish all my thoughts be with you.

  • Liz on 04.18.2013 at 4:26 pm

    My condolences to her family in China and her friends at Boston University. May her light always shine bright for all of you. ~ A Haverford College employee

  • GSM '00 alum on 04.18.2013 at 4:32 pm

    I wish to extend my heartfelt sympathy to Lingzi’s family. She will never be forgotten.

  • Yoona on 04.18.2013 at 5:19 pm

    When I saw her smile,I know she gotta a positive attitude towards life.If the bombing did not happen,maybe she is having dinner with her friends or calling her family.Now all these are impossible.Pray for her and her family. RIP

  • BU on 04.18.2013 at 5:34 pm

    RIP, beautiful girl.

  • Alex on 04.18.2013 at 8:38 pm

    I am so sorry for loss!

  • Peter Li on 04.18.2013 at 8:53 pm

    A young and beautiful life has been taken from us. You would be memorized by all of us. Wish you the best and rest in peace.

  • Susan on 04.18.2013 at 9:16 pm

    Praying for Lingzi’s family and friends. I can’t imagine how hard this must be. She seemed like an talented, kind, and loving person. BU will not forget her.

  • jessica prats on 04.18.2013 at 9:25 pm

    AS a BU alumni class of CLA 1990, words cannot describe how sad I feel about the loss of these angels. May Lu rest in peace and may God help authorities find whoever committed such an atrocious act. My sympathies to Lingzi’s family

  • xinghua on 04.18.2013 at 9:59 pm


  • Gina on 04.18.2013 at 10:19 pm

    My heart hurts for Lingzi’s family. Please know that your family is certainly being lifted in prayer by people all around the world.

  • Chongwei Cai on 04.18.2013 at 10:24 pm

    It is a sad tragic, praying for her. From Australia.

  • Huang on 04.18.2013 at 10:38 pm

    Terrorists shall be brought to justice, there is no bomb in heaven. R.I.P

  • Lei Chuan on 04.18.2013 at 10:39 pm


  • zhang on 04.18.2013 at 10:39 pm

    God bless you!

  • AoboZhang on 04.18.2013 at 10:41 pm


  • lionjohn1108 on 04.18.2013 at 11:04 pm


  • Sean on 04.18.2013 at 11:14 pm

    It is so sad to see such beautiful and promising girl’s life being taken away. She is now an Angel in my heart. My pray goes to her parents and family.
    From Palo Alto, CA

  • HZZ on 04.18.2013 at 11:15 pm


  • shizhaoliang on 04.18.2013 at 11:43 pm


  • Joseph Wei on 04.18.2013 at 11:56 pm

    My deepest condolences to her family and friends for the loss of such a beautiful life. From Montreal Canada

  • Huang on 04.18.2013 at 11:56 pm

    What a pity!May she rest in peace!My deepest condolence to her family and friends!

  • Grey on 04.18.2013 at 11:57 pm

    I studied in BU in 2002,I love Boston.God bless lingzi and all the victems,God bless Boston.

  • leo 陈 on 04.19.2013 at 12:06 am

    —- 一个中国内地的普通人

  • Tania on 04.19.2013 at 12:22 am

    As a fellow BU terrier, my thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends! A life cut short far too soon.

  • Tania on 04.19.2013 at 12:23 am

    As a fellow BU terrier, my thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends. A life cut short far too soon.

  • DiaoLingzi on 04.19.2013 at 12:25 am

    The bomb took you away but it would never be able to do so to your beautiful smile and spirits that deeply embedded in people’s mind.

    • Tracy on 04.21.2013 at 11:25 am

      I was an international student in Chicago a year ago. It was a shock to hear this.
      For LV, R.I.P. For the U.S., no more attacks.
      God bless America.
      A former Chinese international student from China.

  • Борис Павлович Демидович on 04.19.2013 at 12:31 am


  • LU Tong on 04.19.2013 at 12:56 am


  • j wang on 04.19.2013 at 1:10 am

    All the bless to lingzi’family

  • Snowflake on 04.19.2013 at 1:34 am

    I can’t stop crying. Such a lovely girl! My condolences goes to Lingzi’s family.
    —- A mom from California

  • Weihong on 04.19.2013 at 2:36 am


  • Eric Zhao on 04.19.2013 at 2:47 am

    There is no bomb in heaven… R.I.P

  • Kailin on 04.19.2013 at 2:53 am

    生命真的好脆弱,这么可爱的同学,跟我学的一样的专业 哎。。真的好可惜。
    pray from UTexas

  • Ciyi on 04.19.2013 at 3:19 am

    May you rest in peace. God is now watching over you. The Chinese Community lost a great individual.

    -Kansas City, MO

  • Fergus Fang on 04.19.2013 at 3:19 am



  • fromHefei on 04.19.2013 at 3:31 am


  • LU on 04.19.2013 at 4:00 am

    so touching and so sad

  • fengzg on 04.19.2013 at 4:04 am


  • Shuchang on 04.19.2013 at 4:11 am


  • zhenwen huang on 04.19.2013 at 4:59 am


  • zhenwen Huang on 04.19.2013 at 5:00 am


  • 许多多 on 04.19.2013 at 9:18 am

    令子,rest in peace!

  • limingli on 04.19.2013 at 9:45 am

    Rest in peace. 愿美丽的天使,在天堂安好~

  • limingli on 04.19.2013 at 9:45 am

  • limingli on 04.19.2013 at 9:46 am

    RIP~美丽的天使 在天堂安好~

  • Alex Gao on 04.19.2013 at 10:51 am

    God bless you. Pray for your family.

    Student from UWO, Canada

  • alex wu on 04.19.2013 at 11:48 am


  • Tom Jones on 04.19.2013 at 4:45 pm

    Thank You to her family for allowing me to share in the loss of your daughter.
    Thank You to BU for creating this site that allows me to share in loss of one of their own.

  • Daniel Chao on 04.19.2013 at 10:13 pm

    Rest in peace. We’ll remember you. May God be with you!!

  • 统计学教授 on 04.19.2013 at 11:25 pm


  • Robert on 04.19.2013 at 11:31 pm

    It is truly my loss that we never had a chance to meet during your brief time among us. From all that has been said about you, it is clear that you were an exceptional person. May you Rest In Peace Lu Lingzi!

  • Umass student on 04.20.2013 at 12:04 am

    Lingzi, please rest in peace, police already brought them into justice. Please, live happily in the heaven, and smile as you always do

  • Yiyi Lee on 04.20.2013 at 1:42 am

    Rest in peace,Lu lingzi。

  • Timtesla on 04.20.2013 at 3:39 am

    在天堂不孤单,God bless you Lingzi.

  • Smith on 04.20.2013 at 3:49 am


  • Kullen Huang on 04.20.2013 at 7:40 am

    rest in peace

  • student on 04.20.2013 at 12:32 pm

    This article is so badly written it’s almost a disservice to her name. Why couldn’t you talk to someone that actually knew her instead of speculating from her Facebook page?

  • David Mark on 04.21.2013 at 12:01 pm

    As white princess of LU Lingzi, 你是如此美丽,如此的纯净,就像天使安吉拉一样,却突然离我们而去了。这即是你与家庭的不幸,也是我们所有爱好和平、善良的人们的莫大痛苦,愿你在天堂安息!愿你家人和朋友知道:我们永远与你们在一起,与你们同苦,为你们祈祷,并始终坚定地支持你们!

  • CiCi on 04.22.2013 at 2:41 pm

    God bless you.

    Love you.

  • Ron on 04.22.2013 at 8:30 pm

    Many thanks to Lu Lingzi’s parents for sharing such wonderful memories and photos of their sweet daughter. All the very best to them and their family and friends. Much love to Lu Lingzi…

  • sreddy on 04.22.2013 at 8:49 pm

    I am crying.

  • lily on 04.22.2013 at 9:04 pm

    Lu Mei Mei:

    Your short but bright life has already touched all our hearts, and we wish you
    Foever young, Forever pretty, forever talented in the heaven!

    Liting from Salt Lake City, UT

  • Qin on 04.23.2013 at 1:03 am

    May you rest in peace.
    Prayer from Boston.

  • Qitong Chen on 04.23.2013 at 1:50 am

    May see u in my dream, while u r talking me about the math exam. Still remember the first of our exam to entry the uni, u and me talked by QQ, about the math. Everything is just like yesterday. Miss u so much. RIP, cun gu

    • QI YANG on 04.25.2013 at 9:07 am

      Can you tell me her QQ number? I want to see her QQ space and her pictures. I’m her chinese friend. Please help me. Thank you. My QQ is 364630430.

  • Helen Chen on 04.23.2013 at 10:54 am

    Stay strong and cherish every moment. RIP,Lingzi!

  • QI YANG on 04.24.2013 at 7:48 am

    May god bless Lingzi and her dear relatives!

  • Wu on 05.01.2013 at 11:15 am

    May you at peace!

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