Beaten UNC professor Liu honored at Chapel Hill service - WNCN: News, Weather

Beaten UNC professor Liu honored at Chapel Hill service

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - University of North Carolina professor Feng Liu, who was beaten to death on a quiet street in Chapel Hill, was honored Saturday afternoon at a memorial service at Memorial Hall.

Dr. Liu was a research professor in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the UNC. He died July 24 after being assaulted and robbed while walking near campus.

Several hundred people attended the celebration of his life on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Liu’s off-beat and fun personality was remembered, but there were many tears in the audience as people recalled the tragedy of his death.

"He touched the lives of everybody," said Dr. Leaf Huang, a professor at the School of Pharmacy. "So, he is simply just such a wonderful man and is a wonderful scientist, too."

Liu was first a student and then a colleague of Huang's. When Huang came to UNC from Pittsburgh, he said he would only come if the pharmacy school created a job for Liu, which it did.

One man told WNCN how his own high school daughter was interning at the pharmacy school when a man came into the pharmacy school and took the daughter’s purse.

Liu immediately confronted the thief and jumped on the much bigger man and police ended up making an arrest.

It's a situation colleagues remember well.

“In some respects he put himself a little bit in jeopardy at the moment, but he did what the felt was the right thing and a very compassionate thing, but it was also instinctive for him to try to come to the defense of another," said Bob Blouin, dean of the pharmacy school.

Bethany DiPrete, a former lab member with Liu sang at his memorial, and afterwards recalled the man she got to know.

“I would say he was a man who loved life, who loved his friends and loved his family and really wanted to make friends. The second I walked into the lab it was just, ‘Come sit down and let’s chat. I want to hear about your life. I want to tell you about my life. I would come in several times a week and we would just sit there and talk," she said.

Liu was 59.

Police have arrested Derick Davis II, 23, and Troy Arrington, Jr., 27, and charged both men with first-degree murder.


In honor of Liu, the School has established a fund to create an annual award recognizing exemplary graduate students in the Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics. The Liu family asks that anyone wishing to make a gift in remembrance of Liu direct their gift to the fund. Checks may be mailed to:

The Feng Liu Graduate Student Award Fund

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Foundation

CB# 7296

194 Finley Golf Course Road, Suite 106

Chapel Hill, NC 27517

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Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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