In order to graduate with a master's degree in statistics from Boston University, students must pass two Master's Comprehensive Examinations. Last Sunday, Boston University graduate student Lingzi Lu received news that she'd passed her first exam. The previous day, she took the second one.
So on Marathon Monday, her first in Boston, Lu unwound amid the scenery of Boston's quintessential celebration. Lu, a native of the industrial Chinese city of Shenyang, told friends she especially looked forward to spying the newly bloomed tulip and Bradford pear trees around Boston.
Lu's day of relaxation and revelry ended suddenly and shockingly, as she died in the Marathon Monday bombing. She was 23. It left her friends and family searching for answers on both sides of the world.
"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," her family said in a statement. "She was the joy of our lives."
Since arriving in Boston for the fall semester of 2012, Lu established herself as an "enthusiastic" and "bubbly" presence at BU, according to Tasso Kaper, the chair of Mathematics and Statistics at BU.
Lu searched for love, explored Christianity and relished Boston so much she posted scenic pictures of the Charles River on social media. She spoke English with a comfort that belied her short time in the United States and became the center of a diverse social circle of BU graduate students.
"We're all deeply saddened," says Kaper. "To take someone so promising and bright and young with such a large future of ahead of her. This is senseless."
Lu graduated from the Beijing Institute of Technology and worked for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu before enrolling at BU. In just a year, she had already taken seven of the eight classes needed to graduate from the two-year program. After her death, BU professors graded Lu's second and final comprehensive exam. She passed. "She was in the full glory," Kaper says, "of her first year of as a master's student."
A life nearing full bloom, cut senselessly short.