Graduate honored at memorial service

Gay Leclair

Gay Leclair

A memorial service was held Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Lincoln Music Hall for Gaungle Li, a foreign exchange student from Xiangtan, Hunan, China.

The standing room only crowd had to be moved from the Schultz room to the main hall next door to accommodate everyone that had come to pay their last respects to their friend and fellow student.

The mood was somber and the room was quiet as the service began. Several in attendance were visibly shaken and many were tearful as Li was eulogized.

The service was given in both English and Chinese, which was translated by Dr. C. Y. Wang, the Chinese faculty representative and also a professor of food/nutrition and hospitality science.

The head of the biology-microbiology department, Dr. Tom Cheesbrough, began the service. He spoke warmly and with deep sorrow in his heart as he reminisced about the young, intelligent student who was part of his program.

Li’s wife, Yun Luo, and parents, father Chunlian Li and mother Xiahong Chen, were not in attendance. Dr. Wang read a letter of apology on their behalf. The family stated that the tragic loss of their beloved husband and son was just too painful to bear in public. The letter revealed just how much Li was loved and how much he would be missed.

Faculty advisor Dr. Yang Yen spoke with high regards for Li.

“Li was a handsome, honest and honorable young man,” said Yen. He also credited Li with paving the way for advancing the further research on wheat scab disease.

When Li was in high school in China, he began to show an interest in biology and won many awards while he was still in high school. Li started college in 1999. He attended and received his degree in biology from Xiamen University. Li came to South Dakota State University in 2003 to pursue his graduate studies.

“He was a hardworking student. His goal was to better himself through education. I remember hearing from his friends that he stayed in the lab all the time,” said friend and advisor of the Chinese Student and Scholar Association, Rui Yao. Li was a member of the Chinese Student Scholar Association.

In his spare time Li loved to play computer games and he was also a sports fan. His favorite sports were soccer, Frisbee, fishing and basketball. Li would meet with fellow students every week to organize and play basketball. His friends said that he was not the biggest player on the team, but he was the fiercest. Several of Li’s friends stood up at the end of the service to offer their fondest moments with him and reflect on what a warm, caring, thoughtful person he was.

Campus police found Li dead in his campus apartment on the morning of Oct. 26. Li was reported missing by a fellow student.

Guangle Li was born on Dec. 25, 1981 and was his parents’ only son.