BOSTON - Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old graduate student from China who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombings, was remembered at a Boston University memorial service Monday as a smart, energetic girl who loved statistics, her dog and blueberry pancakes.
Held in the George Sherman Union Metcalf Hall, the hour-long event was a touching tribute in a large hall attended by several hundred people. While some cried, others looked straight ahead staring two large projectors showing photos of Lingzi as a baby looking innocently into the camera.
Around the room, flowers were placed in remembrance of the young woman who had just finished taking exams but who did not live long enough to learn that she had passed all her tests with high marks.
Lingzi was an only child who friends say adjusted to life in America and speaking English, her second language.
Friends remembered her smile as infectious and her character as outgoing, confident and enthusiastic. She was also kind, treating friends to lunch as a thank you for help during exams and calling cousins and friends pet names.
She was also very smart and impressed Eric Kolczyk, the director of Boston University's statistics department.
"She struggled and ultimately overcame the considerable challenge of living a new life here," he said. "She was doing very well."
Lingzi loved green tea ice cream, read romance novels, and dreamed of having a stable job and a husband.
Just before the bombs, she worked on a research paper, was searching for an internship and was looking forward to restaurant week, friends said.
"She was full of life and full of promise," Boston University President Robert A. Brown said. "Nothing can be as it was before, the grief is too immense."
At the end of the service, Lingzi's father, Lu Jun, delivered his daughter's eulogy, describing her as the family's source of entertainment and joy.
"She was the family's Shirley Temple," he said, explaining that his daughter would perform for her parents and loved playing several instruments, including the piano. "She was naturally open hearted and gentle and communicable."
He also said his daughter set her life goals early and worked hard to get scholarships to a Chinese university. She also studied English day and night and became an expert on how to obtain an education abroad.
"She was relentless," he said.
Yamiche Alcindor, USA TODAY