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Memorial service held for graduate student
August 31, 1998
Members of the University community gathered at a memorial service August 25 in the Student Union Ballroom for graduate student Liwen Zhu and his parents, Chunying Li and Shican Zhu, who were killed in a car accident August 16 on Interstate 91 in North Haven.
Liwen Zhu's wife, Zhilan Feng, a graduate student in business administration, sustained minor injuries in the accident. Another passenger, Yong Tao, a graduate student in chemistry, remains hospitalized in Yale-New Haven hospital in critical condition.
"This is a great loss for the entire University community, but we have been heartened by the response of our students in this time of crisis," said Vicky Triponey, vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
She said the leaders of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association have been "a great source of strength and pride for all involved."
Ranga Pitchumani, an associate professor of mechanical engineering who was Zhu's Ph.D. advisor, says he will be sorely missed. "He had a very gentle, cheerful and respectful personality which touched everyone in the department. I feel personally that I've lost a good friend."
Pitchumani says Zhu was "one of the best graduate students I have ever had. He had a passion for learning and discovering and was very creative in his research."
Liwen Zhu, 31, was born in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. He graduated from Fudan University in applied mechanics in 1989 and came to UConn in August 1996 to pursue a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering. He has published several research papers in prestigious academic journals.
The elder Zhus, both of Shanghai, were visiting their son and daughter-in-law at the time of the accident. They are survived by a daughter, Liging.
Shican Zhu, 64, was born in Jiangsu in the People's Republic of China. After graduating from Fudan University in 1958, he had a distinguished academic career at Fudan, during which he received many national awards and published numerous articles and books. He became a professor emeritus in 1994.
His wife, Chunying Li, 61, was born in Shanghai and graduated in 1963 from Shanghai Normal University. After long service as a government officer, she retired in 1992.
A memorial fund has been established to help defray the costs associated with the tragedy. Those who wish may send contributions to the Chinese Club UConn Memorial Fund, c/o Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Vicky Triponey, Gulley Hall, U-121, University of Connecticut, 352 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269-2086.