Accident victim Mimi Liu remembered

Mimi Liu’s smile could light up the whole room. The loving, optimistic 20-year-old is remembered best by her friends as a musically talented pianist with a big heart and a bright future.

On Oct. 9, Ms. Liu, of Chicago, was killed by a pickup truck on Lincoln Avenue. Since then, candles have been placed along the sidewalk in memory of her life.

“She was the type of person who, if you ever needed anything, she would drop whatever she was doing and just be there for you,” said Winnie Mei, Ms. Liu’s roommate and junior in ACES.

Mei said she met Ms. Liu their freshman year of college. They spent a lot of time together their sophomore year, even though they didn’t live together. The two became close friends and lived in an apartment together this year.

Mei said Ms. Liu loved to play piano, cook and be with friends. She was also involved in the Minority Business Students Association, where she was on the publicity committee.

At the University, Ms. Liu was a junior who transferred from DGS into ACES this year. She was majoring in agricultural and consumer economics with a concentration in agribusiness, said her academic adviser Jessa Barnard.

Barnard was Ms. Liu’s adviser since August of this year. Although their relationship was primarily academic, Barnard said Ms. Liu was proactive in seeking out opportunities for her future. Barnard was also Ms. Liu’s instructor in Careers in Agribusiness, a career preparation seminar.

“She really blossomed throughout the semester in that course,” Barnard said. “She was very thorough in her journal writing (and) in her paper writing.”

Barnard added that an email was sent to students in the department of agricultural and consumer economics about gathering cards and letters to give to Ms. Liu’s family.

Ms. Liu attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and the Merit School of Music in Chicago, where she played piano. She was also involved with The Chinese Fine Arts Society in Chicago.

Throughout high school, Ms. Liu studied piano at the Merit School of Music, said Timothy Riordan, who was the artistic director at the school when Ms. Liu attended. Riordan said he knew Ms. Liu for a long time, and she was one of the school’s top students. She won many awards, including the Victor DeGrazia Endowed Private Lesson Scholarship, the Andrew M. and Bonnie G. Stein Endowed Private Lesson Scholarship and the Ann R. Monaco Endowed Private Lesson Scholarship.

“She was widely respected, by students and faculty alike,” Riordan said.

Riordan remembered how Ms. Liu would always wear beautiful dresses for her solo performances — dresses which she made herself, he said.

Lauren Cheung, junior at Brown University, knew Ms. Liu since they were in seventh grade and attended high school and the Merit School of Music with her.

“The first time I ever saw her play (piano), it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen a woman so in her element,” Cheung said. “I always thought that eventually she would go back to music in some way. … Honestly, I thought she could do anything.”

In high school, Ms. Liu and Cheung were also involved in the Asian American Club, where they led a dance performance at the end of the year.

Cheung said Ms. Liu was the kind of person who would invite her friends to lunch if she knew they were upset — the type of girl who spent most of her time trying to make her loved ones happy.

“She loved more people than she ever expected to love her back,” Cheung said. “That was probably one of the best attributes about her and one of the reasons why I respected her as much as I did, or still do.”

Ronke Sokunbi, junior at the University of Miami and another close friend, said in her group of friends from high school, Ms. Liu was the one who would be laughing in the background, while her friends were acting stupid.

“She was really optimistic, and that’s how I’m trying to view this situation myself because even when things were not very good, she would always say things would get better,” Sokunbi said.

Mei said that Ms. Liu had the biggest heart and always looked for the good things in people.

“She was always so happy and friendly,” Mei said. “You just couldn’t not like Mimi.”

Hannah can be reached at [email protected]