Mississippi College

MC Awards Lina Song Memorial Scholarships

March 5, 2008

Mississippi College's first Lina Song Memorial Scholarships are going to seven students from China this spring as a fitting tribute to the life of a friend to many in the MC community.

The scholarships honor the memory of Lina Song, a 27-year-old graduate student from China. Working on a master's degree in health services administration at MC, Song was struck by a car and killed as she walked along U.S. 80 in Clinton one evening in late September.

Her tragic death stunned the MC family and led school leaders to create the scholarship fund.

An emotion-filled memorial service on campus prompted MC trustee Wayne Parker, the president and chairman with the LifeShare Foundation in Jackson, to encourage his group to make a $50,000 donation to the Song scholarship.

The non-profit LifeShare Foundation contributed another $30,000 to enhance sound equipment at Provine Chapel where the memorial service was held. Song's parents and other family members and friends joined with MC's faculty, staff and students to celebrate her life and mourn her passing. The service at a packed Provine Chapel was translated into both Chinese and English.

Awarding of the first scholarships in her honor is a way to keep alive the spirit of one of MC's brightest students who was well on her way to a promising career in the medical field, school leaders say.

"Anyone who receives a Lina Song scholarship should aspire to leave a legacy as worthy as the legacy of Ms. Song," said Parker. "This is the most appropriate way to show gratitude for the scholarship and her life."

Song, who attended MC for a little more than one year, had already accepted a position with the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. Her funeral was held Sept. 22 in Virginia where her parents, Lianfang Wang and Xifeng Song, reside.

Other contributions to the Lina Song scholarship fund came from MC graduates as far away as California and Texas. The scholarships will help the Chinese students, all women, pay for their MC studies in such fields as communication, business, counseling psychology and biological sciences. Students will be awarded scholarships of up to $1,000 for the spring semester. Some of the scholarship winners have perfect 4.0 grade point averages, said Jim Brackenridge, executive director of MC international programs.

Brackenridge believes the scholarship is an appropriate way to honor the memory of a gifted international student. "Lina was a superior young woman, outstanding in every way."

Yuan Yuan Song, 25, a graduate student in communications from China, said she and Lina quickly became friends soon after they arrived on the MC campus in August 2006. "She was a very nice girl and very helpful. She liked to help other students."

Known to her friends as "Suki" Song, she's among the first recipients of the Song Memorial Scholarship. A top-notch student with a perfect 4.0 average, Suki Song hopes to graduate in August 2008 and begin a career in public relations.

An American pastor spread the word about Mississippi College during a visit to her coastal city in Northeast China, and encouraged the daughter of Christian parents to apply. "God directed me to MC. The people here are very friendly and the environment is very good," said Song. Suki is part of the Chinese ministry at First Baptist Church in Jackson and works at MC's International Center.

MC's creation of the Lina Song scholarships, she said, is a good way to honor her classmate and friend.

Mississippi College is home to 330 international students from 26 nations, including 250 from China. The announcement of the awards comes just days before MC's International Festival on Friday March 7 in Swor Auditorium. The evening event will showcase the talents of dozens of MC students from around the globe, including China and India.

Winners of the Song scholarships, their majors and the size of their awards: Yuan Yuan Song, communication ($1,000); Fangzhou Yu, counseling psychology ($1,000); Ying Lin, visual arts ($1,000); Donting Ma, visual arts ($750); Yayin Huang, masters in business administration ($500); Jiabei Lin, biological sciences ($500) Lin Lin Qu, masters in business administration ($250).

Additional donations to the Lina Song Memorial Scholarships may be sent to: The International Center at Mississippi College, attention: Lina Song Memorial Scholarship, 201 Monroe Street, Clinton, MS 39056. For more information contact Jim Brackenridge at 601-925-7635 or brackenr@mc.edu

PHOTO: Lina Song

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