For any scholarship recipient, the aid is an honor and a financial help. Yifan Xu’s scholarship means something more to her: “the glamorous part of humanity,” an act of generosity born of tragedy.
Xu (GRS’16) came to BU this fall from China as the University’s first Lu Lingzi Scholar, a program established in memory of the BU student who died in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Xu grieved with the world over the attack that killed two others besides Lu (GRS’13) and injured and maimed hundreds. Then, researching graduate programs and coming across the scholarship, she found herself “really moved to see how students and teachers in Boston University memorialized Lingzi.”
“I didn’t know her or her family members,” says Xu. “But I admire her family for sharing Lingzi’s story with the world and cooperating with the school to construct the fund.”
Xu, who is studying for a master’s degree in economic policy, has found a welcoming harbor at BU. For example, her program’s director, Hsueh-Ling Huynh, a College of Arts & Sciences master lecturer in economics and director of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences master’s programs in economics, called her after she won the scholarship, “sending warm greetings and helping me to find relevant information.”
The Lu Lingzi Scholarship, created by the BU Board of Trustees and donors from the University and around the world, provides tuition remission and a stipend to an international student studying for a master’s degree. Outstanding students from China receive preference. One new scholarship will be awarded each year.
Lu Lingzi Scholars are chosen from nominations by BU’s school and college deans. English proficiency and academic skills as demonstrated by admission to BU are among the criteria, says Timothy Barbari, associate provost for graduate affairs and a College of Engineering professor of biomedical engineering.
“In Ms. Xu’s case,” he says, “she had recently interned at the Bank of New York Mellon Beijing branch, and her supervisor there commented on her ability to translate documents into English for English-speaking customers of the bank and to communicate with colleagues from around the world.”
Xu graduated from Renmin University of China in Beijing, “a premier academic and research institution with a rigorous and balanced program that prepares students very successfully for graduate studies in the United States,” says Huynh. “Yifan excelled in her undergraduate studies. We have also come to appreciate her as a confident, energetic, and sociable person with a positive outlook.…We are thrilled to be the first department to host a Lu Lingzi Scholar.”
Shortly before she died, Lu Lingzi passed the beginning of her master’s comprehensive exam in statistics. “We have been touched by the extraordinary generosity of our trustees and the members of the BU community around the world” in funding the scholarship, says Jean Morrison, University provost. “As Boston University remembers this remarkable young woman, we also champion our commitment to welcome gifted students from around the world to our campus community, where they can thrive and contribute to our tradition of excellence in research and scholarship.”