Weinberg freshman Chuyuan “Chu” Qiu wore a purple dress to her senior prom because she was so excited to attend Northwestern in the fall. Mourners gathered in the Alice Millar Chapel Friday evening remembered Qiu for her curiosity and dedication to getting as much enjoyment out of life – and college experience – as possible.
Qiu died on September 23 after her bike collided with a cement truck on Sheridan Road.
Although Qiu didn’t complete her first week of school at Northwestern, she left a strong impression on those she met. Qiu’s faculty adviser, Barbara Newman, complimented Qiu’s math abilities and remembered how thrilled she was to be a Northwestern student. Qiu’s Peer Adviser Katharine Cusick marveled at her ability to eat “sheer quantities of food” and her dream of becoming a professional skier despite never having skied before.
“Your goofiness, your infectious smile, your voracious appetite both for food and for experiences, your enviable confidence and your optimism make you who you are,” Cusick said, wearing her Peer Adviser shirt. “Your spirit will continue to shine through us: the people who love you and the people you made better simply by your presence.”
Members of Qiu’s family shared their pride in their adventurous Chu, who excelled in high school and couldn’t wait to move to Evanston from Nanjing, China. Sniffling echoed throughout the packed chapel as Qiu’s father read a letter he wrote to her on his flight to the United States as he “came to take her home.” Sharing stories of reading side-by-side with his daughter and their unfulfilled plans to ride horses together, Qiu’s father told of saying goodbye to his daughter before she left for Northwestern and not realizing “it was goodbye forever.”
“It was so pitiful that I didn’t spend more time with you in this life,” he said. “Let me render you more love in our next life.”
Food was a prominent theme in recollections of Qiu, who wrote in a letter her cousin read at the memorial about the many reasons she wanted to attend Northwestern – one of them being the Italian restaurants and ice cream shops close to campus. Qiu was also passionate about acting and the many activities available to Northwestern students.
Speaking of how Qiu had signed up to join student government among many other activities, ASG President Christina Cilento encouraged mourners to honor Qiu and her adventurous spirit by taking advantage of every opportunity.
“It pains me to think of Chu’s potential, who she would have become during her time at Northwestern, and we know that she would have been great.”