A Chinese student who endeared herself to Brenau faculty and students last year, competing as part of Students in Free Enterprise and working at the campus radio station, has died.
Xiaoding Wu, 23, a business major at the school, died "over the weekend after a lengthy and severe illness while at home for the summer in China," Jody Y. Wall, executive assistant to the president, said in an e-mail Tuesday morning to faculty and staff.
"Plans are under way to express to her parents how much we benefited from knowing Xiaoding," Wall said.
The School of Business and Mass Communication will create a DVD of memories from Brenau students, faculty and staff to be sent to her parents, she said.
"We hope to send the messages to Xiaoding’s family early next week," Wall said.
Donations also are being accepted to help defray the costs of her medical bills. Those who wish to contribute can contact Wall or Lorene Pharr in the Owens Building, according to the e-mail.
Bill Lightfoot, the dean of business and mass communication, said Xiaoding "was a neat young lady, totally immersed in what it means to be a college student in the United States.
"What a great alumna she would have been, an excellent representative for Brenau University."
David Morrison, spokesman for Brenau, said the school learned in early August that she had gone into a coma.
Brenau Women’s College started classes Aug. 25.
Living in Zhengzhou in central China, Xiaoding was planning her future college studies when a colleague of her mother suggested Brenau University.
After she arrived at Brenau, she joined Students in Free Enterprise, a business club that develops community outreach projects that involve market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and business ethics.
She also participated in an international students club and worked at the campus radio station, WBCX-FM. Her work there included an interview with a college dean and a public-service message concerning economies in China and the U.S.
In a May interview with The Times, she talked about adjusting to life in the U.S.
"Everything has been so different, especially language and food," she added. "... Back home, we have a very different set of values. People back home are maybe not as open as people here."
Over time, though, she grew comfortable with a new set of friends.
Also, "my teachers ... have been so helpful in both my studies and my life, so I really am very grateful for that," Xiaoding said.
She had planned to spend her summer working as an intern at an elevator repair company in her hometown.
Xiaoding was to return to Brenau as a junior, continuing her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in business management.
Her ultimate goal in life was "to open a business school in China that can work together with the United States."
"I just want to educate the youth ... to learn about how money works and basically about financial literacy, and to equip themselves with necessary skills to succeed in their future endeavors," she said.