Warm, friendly and dedicated to her studies, Lingzi Lu, a first-year Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student, will be missed by her fellow students, said Boston University Statistics Program Director Eric Kolaczyk.
“She was very sweet,” he said. “She was bubbly. She had an ability to smile and look serious at the same time that I found intriguing.”
Lu died in the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Kolaczyk said he and his colleagues were devastated to have lost such a promising student in a senseless manner.
“She was very serious about her studies,” he said. “She had a large group of friends around her as well. She was both very much into her studies in statistics … [and] she was also taking a course in piano because she wanted to further her piano skills — she really had a very rich personality.”
Lu, who was originally from China, received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Beijing Institute of Technology before moving to the U.S. to pursue her master’s degree in statistics, Kolaczyk said. While she may have struggled at first with the language barrier, she adapted well over the course of her first year at BU.
“My impression was that it was challenging at first, and that’s not atypical at all,” he said. “It’s difficult to go from speaking primarily your home language … and then suddenly go to another country … She found it challenging but she still did well and she was moving with an even bigger head of steam into the spring semester.”
Lu’s parents said in a public written statement that she greatly enjoyed her time in the U.S.
“It has always been her dream to come to America to study,” the statement read. “While she was here, she fell in love with Boston and its people. She loved her new friends and her professors at Boston University. She wanted to play a role in international business, specializing in applied mathematics.”
Lu was the joy of her parents’ lives and a positive role model for those around her, according to the statement.
“We were thrilled to watch her grow into an intelligent and beautiful young woman. She was a positive role model for many others,” Lu’s parents wrote. “… We hope that everyone who knew Lingzi, and experienced the positive spirit and joy she had will help carry on her spirit.”
Members of the BU community have rallied to support Lu’s family and friends.
Members of the BU Board of Trustees have made a combined contribution of $560,000 as of Thursday evening in Lu’s name to the Lu Lingzi Scholarship Fund, which was established after her death, according to The Campaign for BU website
Additionally, students gathered at Marsh Plaza to commemorate Lu’s passing, writing notes on a banner to be given to Lu’s family.
College of Communication sophomore Xi Jin, BU Chinese Students and Scholars’ director of communication, said BUCSS set up the tribute to honor Lu and to support her parents.
“From the start when we knew she was missing, we’ve been helping her roommates and the Chinese Consulate and her family to look for her,” Jin said. “… We really appreciate everybody caring about her. We hope that BU can stay united and stay strong and get through this sad period.”
BU officials will host a memorial to honor Lu Monday night at 7 p.m. in Metcalf Hall, said BU President Robert Brown in an email to the community Sunday.
Rachel Riley contributed to the reporting of this article.