MC

Mississippi College

MC Family Honors Lina Song at a Memorial Service

September 18, 2007

Lina Song will always be remembered for her beautiful smile, and her passion for life, a Mississippi College graduate student from China who quickly won the hearts of so many here.

MC professors, classmates and family members packed Provine Chapel Friday for a memorial service, a tearful tribute to Song, 27, who died at a Jackson hospital Thursday. An excellent student who was working on a degree in health services administration, Song died from injuries suffered after being hit by a car while walking along U.S. 80 in Clinton late Wednesday evening.

Some like nursing instructor Beth Twiner only knew Song for three weeks, but was deeply touched by her presence in her classroom.

Almost daily, "I was welcomed by Lina's beautiful smile," Twiner said in her remarks at the memorial service. A translator repeated her message in Chinese as scores of Chinese students, many dressed in black, looked on. "You couldn't help but notice how beautiful she was. I knew her to be a woman of courage. I knew her to be a woman of great courage and character and honesty."

When Twiner told her class Thursday of Song's death in a tragic accident, there were many tears shed that day.

At the service that concluded with sunlight streaming into the historic chapel built in 1860, Mississippi College leaders announced the creation of a Lina Song Memorial Scholarship to help Chinese students pursue their studies at the Christain university. Donations can be made to the MC Office of International Programs. Today, there are about 300 international students at MC, including more than 150 from China.

Besides the words of sadness expressed about their sudden loss, mourners also gathered for a hymn of hope, singing "It is Well With my Soul." Minutes later, an international choir of Chinese students sang "Amazing Grace."

Members of Song's family, including her parents, were on hand for Friday's emotional one-hour service. Her cousin, who recalled they grew up like brother and sister, remembered Lina Song simply as a lovely girl. Fighting back tears, he also remembered the days when they used to fight and throw pillows at one another. He thanked the MC family for coming. As they entered the chapel, hundreds of mourners were handed white carnations from Chinese students grieving over their popular classmate, who spent more than a year at MC.

Dr. Eric Pratt, MC's vice president for Christian Development, said it's hard to explain the death of "someone so young, so beautiful and so gifted. It has all of us crying."

Giving the benediction, President Lee Royce asked for God's comfort to those "in the midst of overwhelming loss" with the passing of Lina Song.