People Profiles

In Memoriam: Meiyu Li, Economics

June 06, 2018

It is with deep sadness that we announce the sudden passing of economics PhD student Meiyu Li on May 25, 2018, as a result of a car accident in Ontario. 

Meiyu joined SFU Economics as an MA student in 2013. Since then, she has been an exceptionally bright student, having won both the department’s Herbert R. Grubel award for top cumulative grade point average (CPGA) among graduating MA students, as well as the Richard G. Lipsey Award for top comprehensive exam results among PhD students.

Meiyu’s promising academic career was just beginning. Specializing in time series econometrics, she had already produced two publications and was finishing the second round of revisions for her third publication to the prestigious Journal of Econometrics.

Brian Krauth, Department Chair of Economics, recognizes the loss both to the field of economics as well as within our SFU community. “She was extremely active in presenting at conferences, regularly participated in hosting our seminar guests, and was in general an exemplary contributor to scholarship. Meiyu was also an exemplary member of our community, always one of the first people to volunteer to help out with something. She was confident but quietly so, and I can’t remember seeing her without a smile on her face.”

Dr. Ramazan Gencay, Meiyu’s thesis supervisor, spoke of her as a cheerful and hardworking young woman who enjoyed music, hiking, snowboarding, and travelling. “She was so ready to share her immense skills with her future students and colleagues, [and] on a certain path to becoming an excellent scholar. With her PhD thesis completed, she would have been ready for the job market this fall.

“Spending countless hours together, reviewing her research, either at SFU, in coffee shops or on the North Shore trails, we developed a cherished respect for one another. I will miss her every moment for the rest of my life.”

Former graduate chair, Simon Woodcock, also notes the loss. “Meiyu was a great asset to the department. She was among the very best students we've had in recent years; friendly, and kind.

“She will be greatly missed in the department.”

It was determined that another passenger in the vehicle also had ties to SFU Economics. Cheng Yuan, our former PhD student, also passed away in the accident. He was a student from 2014 to 2016 and had transferred to the PhD program at the University of Waterloo to be with his wife. Professor Krauth remembers him as being "very bright, and [having the ability] to synthesize economic problems like no one else."

  • A memorial service is being held for Meiyu at the Interfaith Centre, AQ 3200 at 6 pm on Wednesday, June 6.

The Economics department is collecting and posting tributes to Meiyu. Tributes can be submitted via an online form, and will be shared on the department's In Memoriam page for Meiyu.

Additionally, Meiyu's parents would like to learn more about her life in Canada. If you knew Meiyu, you can write letters about her and her time working and studying at SFU, which can also be uploaded as a .doc or .pdf file using the same online form, and these will be provided to her parents.

An endowment has been created in Meiyu's memory, to help future SFU students: See the fundraising page.

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