Professor Fang Zhao

By December 8, 2010 News 102 Comments

Celebration of Life and Endowment Information

Celebration of Life Event Agenda

Celebration of Life Event Photo Gallery

Slide Movie of Professor Fang Zhao’s Life

Fang-Zhao

Fang Zhao

At 5:10 pm today, our civil and environmental engineering family, the college, and FIU lost a precious member – Professor Fang Zhao, Interim Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Deputy Director of the Lehman Center for Transportation Research. She fought a deadly form of lung cancer for the last three months. She never lost hope, nor did she ever lose her love for her work. It was only last week that she tried so hard to whisper in the ears of a colleague who was paying her a visit at the hospital, whatever she could to help him with finishing one of their research reports. That is the Fang Zhao that we all remember.

The light of life left her eyes today, but her lively eyes and her memory will never leave our minds. She devoted her entire academic career to FIU, and it is now up to us to keep her memory alive. The college will raise funds to establish Fang Zhao Endowment for Women in Engineering Leadership to celebrate her life and to cherish her accomplishments. The endowment will help fund scholarships, lectures, and professorship in her honor.

A graduate of the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture in China, she moved to the US in the mid-80’s and received her masters and doctorate degrees in civil engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1987 and 1991, respectively. She joined FIU in 1992, and ever since devoted her time and energy to the advancement of her department in various capacities. She specialized in computer applications to civil engineering problems, particularly transportation problems. Her research covered geographic information system (GIS), engineering databases, visualization techniques, transportation planning, transit planning and operations, new transit technologies, artificial neural networks, knowledge-based expert systems, optimization techniques, data analysis, and system modeling. She was a nationally recognized expert on GIS-T, especially on temporal GIS applications in transportation. For the last three years she led the department so ably as the interim chair, not only maintaining its operations, but also significantly enhancing its enrollment, degrees awarded, and research funding, as well as obtaining ABET accreditation of its two programs- civil, and environmental.

Fang is survived by her husband – a former affiliate of the Lehman Center, a daughter and a son. Her son is majoring in computer science in our college.

The department and the college will hold a special event for the celebration of her life. More information will follow as soon as we can arrange for an appropriate time with the family and friends.

_____________________

Amir Mirmiran, PhD, PE
Professor and Dean

Detect language » English

Detect language » English

Detect language » English

102 Comments

  • Vamshi Chaitanya Annimalla says:

    May your soul Rest In Peace. My Deepest condolences to the FIU family

  • sudheer says:

    May your soul rest in peace……….We love you and we miss you………..

  • Vamsee Tirunagari says:

    My deep condolences to her family. May be god bless them with enormous strength and courage.
    Maam may your soul rest in peace, we miss you forever.

  • Sai Sudheer Ponugoti says:

    My deep condolences to her family. May her soul rest in peace.

  • Yu Zhang says:

    Sad sad news!! My heart goes out to her children and family.

  • Dante says:

    Dr. Zhao was a great professor and a devoted scholar. I feel proud that I was in the last class she taught, and she will be sorely missed.

  • Huijing Qiang says:

    Dr. Zhao 一路走好。我们永远怀念您

  • Felipe Guerrero says:

    She was a great teacher and an exceptional human being. A great loss for us, engineers, at FIU. I am deeply saddened and extend my sincere condolences to her family.

  • Jie Bian says:

    Rest in peace, Dr. Zhao. I am so grateful that I had a chance to know you and to learn from you. We miss you.

  • ALI SARDINAS says:

    To my major professor and friend, I will miss you forever. May you rest in peace and may god console those you left behind.
    ALI SARDINAS, MSCE ’98

  • Hongbo Chi says:

    Dr. Zhao, It is very hard for me to accept this truth. I miss your love for us in these empty days. You are always my best advisor in the world. I miss you forever.

  • Mostafa Sotoodeh says:

    May your soul rest in peace Dr. Zhao. I am so thankful for all your support.

  • Giri Narasimhan says:

    Over the last year and half I had gotten to know Dr. Zhao and what she stood for.
    She was full of ideas about how to help junior faculty, how to help students,
    how to improve their language and presentation skills.
    It is a colossal loss for our college. We will miss her and her voice of reason.

  • Xuesong Zhu says:

    Dr. Zhao was a great teacher as well as a mentor. I still remember the first time I met her back in 2001 in Shanghai, China when she visited my university and gave a speech regarding carrer as a researcher. I chose to come to America partially due to her influence..It is such a tremendous loss for us, for FIU and for her families..My charming professor, I wish you rest in peace….

  • Clara Fang says:

    I was deeply saddened to hear this news. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy on the passing of her. My thoughts are with her children and family.

  • Lilia Silverio-Minaya says:

    Dr. Zhao was a great woman, full of great values. She always had something nice to say and a smile to give.
    She gave me advices about my professional career and also provided words of wisdom for my role as a parent and working mother…I am extremely sad about this loss…
    My thoughts and prayers are with her family. May her soul rest in peace.

  • Gang Quan says:

    I am so moved at what I heard these days about Dr. Zhao. I wish that I could know her earlier. My best wishes to her and her family …

  • workamaw warsido says:

    Dr. Zhao, you were a great person always happy to help students in everything you can. I am very thankful for all the things you did for me. May your soul rest in peace.

  • Claudia Esther Estrada says:

    “The body dies, but the love lives on. Love is everlasting.”
    My condolences to the family.
    God be with you.

  • Cesar Levy says:

    I have known Dr. Zhao on many levels: a faculty colleague in committees, as associate dean and, like her, a department chair. She had an easy-going style and always tried to find the way to compromise whenever difficulties arose. But you could always tell she had inner strength that would help her achieve her goals.
    I had hoped she would beat this and I was very saddened to hear of her untimely passing. May she rest in peace and may her memory be a source of strength to her family.

  • Mingjin Zhang says:

    May your soul Rest In Peace. … 深切缅怀 沉痛哀悼

  • Fan Shen says:

    May you rest in peace, best wish to you and your family.

  • Stephanie Strange says:

    Fang Zhao will be remembered for her many roles as an engineering educator, administrator and family member just to name a few. I am saddened that someone so vital and young has left us too soon.Among the many things I remember about her is her good humor at the CEE vs BME softball game. Also once we had a discussion about her lawn, which she said was supporting florida natural flora to the consternation of her neighbors. She was a joy to work with, and although I do not know her as well as many , I too will miss her presence. My sincere condolences to her family and friends.

  • Martha Soledad says:

    I only knew Dr. Zhao for a short period of time but she was kind and always had a smile.
    My deep condolences to her family. May her soul rest in peace.

  • Ariam says:

    I never had the pleasure of meeting her but she seemed very nice and helpful, my sincere condolences to her family.

  • Laura Osorno says:

    Dr. Zhao was a wonderful human being. She was a great boss, and on a personal level, a great friend. She always had a smile on her face and her eyes always shined. I love you Dr. Zhao and you will truly be missed. May you rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.

  • Zhongjie Zhang says:

    We sadly lost a good colleague who had a beautiful life. We wish her rest in peace.

  • Irtishad Ahmad says:

    I am very saddened to hear that Dr. Fang Zhao passed away. She was a heavy-hitter in the college. Bur more than that she was a great friend. We will remember her for her friendship, professionalism and devotion to work.

  • Tingjun Lei says:

    May you soul rest in peace, Dr. Zhao.

  • Walter Tang says:

    Dear Fang:

    Thank you for all what you have done for the Department and FIU. You will always be in our heart. May you rest in peace!

    The following is a tribute to Dr. Zhao written by Fang’s friend Prof. Xiaoduan Sun from the University of Lousiana and shared by Dr. Albert Gan.

    Walter

    Celebration of Fang Zhao’s Life

    Seeing the lights of Miami disappear into the night sky as the plane climbed to high altitudes, I wish what I had experienced in the last two days had simply been a bad dream. Bad dreams can always be forgotten in the light of a new day, but I knew it was real as uncontrollable tears rushed down my face.

    I flew to Miami two days ago to visit Fang, who was fighting an aggressive lung cancer in Miami’s Baptist Hospital. After several months of persistent coughing and under her husband Xiao Gang’s urge, Fang finally visited a doctor and was diagnosed with Stage-IV lung cancer on August 13, 2010. Even though I was devastated by the news, I hoped she would fight the disease in defiance of all her doctors’ expectations and contain the cancer cell growth with new treatment. I read somewhere that cancer research has made the biggest stride in the past decade, making the survival rate much higher than what it was last century.

    No one was prepared to see Fang’s cancer spread so fast. Within a three and a half month time period, the cancer cells had devoured her entire left lung, despite chemo and other treatments. When the radiologist revealed this fact in the hospital Friday morning, I felt my body could no longer hold my sinking heart any longer. It was exactly two weeks ago, in response to my deeply concerned email to her, Fang wrote back to me ensuring that she was fine and asking me not to worry too much about her. I had no idea that it would be her last email to me. Her condition deteriorated exponentially in the few days after that email. She did not even have the opportunity to start a new clinical trial, which offered encouraging results to lung cancer patients with the particular gene with which Fang tested positive.

    I met Fang for the first time about 16 years ago at a conference in Pittsburg, PA. Like most people, I was initially impressed by her beauty, which she never fully realized. Fang is attractively tall at 1.76M (an embarrassing feature in her youth, as she later shared with me) and astonishingly pretty. Her beauty managed to convey both intelligence and elegance. We did not become good friends right away, even though we both made unique first impressions. Our friendship developed gradually in the 10 years that followed, accelerating as she became the first female president of NACOTA. During these years, we were together at TRB annual meetings in Washington D.C and various NACOTA conferences and trips to different places in China. To save money, we shared hotel rooms, which gave us the opportunity to learn more about each other. The more we talked, the more we discovered how much things we had in common. Our views on work, life, and the world are similar. Being born in the same year, we have shared very similar life experiences. Both of our fathers were victims of the political witch-hunt movements in China during those past dark years.

    All Fang’s acquaintances would agree that she is an honest, serious, devoted professional who possesses the highest level of integrity, which is hard to find. She takes every task, big or small, seriously and always does her best to complete these tasks, regardless of their significance in her personal advancements. In addition to performing research projects, she spent tons of time preparing classes and did exceptional work. I was amazed by her methodical way of putting graduate GIS courses together. She has been highly regarded by her professional peers and deeply appreciated by her students, which is evidenced by the flood of get well cards she received, despite keeping the diagnosis to only a few close friends.

    Although we were linked together professionally, I got to know Zhao Fang mostly outside of her work life. She was the youngest of five siblings and had a happy family of her own (husband and two children) in Miami, Florida. She is the kindest person I have ever met, never speaking ill about others. Fang had a big heart towards the less fortunate. While most of us would be impatient to the persistent phone calls asking for donations, I was not surprised to learn that Fang always spent time responding to these calls and asking her husband to send checks to these organization. She surprised the porters carrying huge loads of daily supplies climbing the rugged and steep steps in Huangshan by giving them cash and volunteering to tip the people who dragged the recreational boats along the Yangtze River Tour in 100 Yuan dominations. This humbled the rest of us sitting on the same boat since we, in response to her suggestion, only put forward 5s or 10s. Fang contributed to all this philanthropy naturally, even though she lived frugally. She wore same dress year after year at TRB’s annual meetings and at our NACOTA summer conferences. Her natural beauty never needed fancy clothes or additions.

    Fang loved nature and all lives fostered by nature. After hearing so much about the Florida Everglades from her, my husband and I took a trip to visit their home in Miami last year. We had such a great time touring the Everglades, complete with an adventurous canoe outing, an educational boat ride to see American crocodiles, and a visit to a resting forest for thousands of different species of birds. Because of her, we learned a lot about the animals and plants that habituate the vast wetland that she loved dearly. Sometimes, her love for nature or animal lives puzzled people. She cultivated all sorts of native Floridian wildflowers and plants, which were like weeds to my eyes, in their yards. This did not make certain people in her affluent neighborhood happy. She passionally won arguments with local people who came asking for the termination of these weed-like plants. Passengers on our tour bus waited while she and her daughter, Leah, released small animals they just paid money for back to the wild forest last year on a trip organize by the NACOTA conference, hosted by the university in Harbin. I loudly protested and firmly demanded the evacuation of her two loving, mouse-like crea tures, whose waster made an intolerable smell, on our train ride back to Beijing. Now, these memories make me laugh and cry at the same time, because they are so typical of my friend, Fang Zhao.

    In addition to her love of nature, Fang also loved music, art, and mostly books— good classical books. Early in their children’s lives, she and Xian Gang made a conscious decision for a TV –free household so that their children would spend time on constructive things, like music and books. Fang read more classical and contemporary books, mostly in English and a few in Chinese, than probably any of us who also majored in science and engineering. Due to that, she wrote eloquently in English- an ability many of us struggle with constantly as non-native English speaker. I always admired her clear, concise, and very logical writing on even the most complicated issues. In our NACOTA circle of friends, Fang was the best technical writer. Due to her unawareness of pop culture, she inadvertently came off as arrogant when her brother-in-law took her to dine with his friend 周迅, a popular celebrity in China. Afterwards, she asked me who the woman was and why it was a big deal to meet her.

    While we have common views on important things in life, we also differed in many personal traits. One of the things I admired the most was her unpretentious personality. Some people talk big about themselves, and you hear them brag, even in short conversations, about material possessions, professional achievements, outstanding status in society, association with well-known figures, degrees from top universities, etc. Fang was exactly the opposite end. You have to know her well to discover all her shining accomplishments and impressive network of friends and peers, which would make anyone envious.

    Fang is a much stronger and calmer person than I am. The last three and a half months have been a persistent nightmare to me, and to her family (both immediate and extended). When she realized the end might be near, she tried very hard in her weakened physical state to make sure her yet-to-graduate student would be taken care of and other professors would finish her research reports. She was also deeply concerned about the impact on her children and her mother and discussed with Xiao Gang how to minimize such impacts. When it was time for me to leave the hospital last Friday, she managed to open her big, bright eyes and whisper to me “I am ok.” When I turned back to hug her one more time, telling her, “I will be back,” she nodded her head as hard as she could. Just as she never fully accepted her own beauty, Fang will never realize how many hearts will be broken by the tragic news.

    Fang lived a great life, a fulfilled life—a life worth celebrating. I am so proud and honored to have shared in such a beautiful life and friendship.

  • Emily Yi says:

    I’ve known Fang Zhao for over 26 years. No one has affected my life in positive ways as much as she did. I learned from her that one should work hard, keep learning, and enjoy life. She will be missed sincerely.

  • Haydee Caneda says:

    I love you Dr. Zhao and will never forget you. Three months ago when I told a student you were not in and was not going to be available for a while, his words to me were ” OUR PROTECTOR IS NOT HERE, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO”?

    You always saw the good in people and even when sick, always had the time to listen to them.
    You taught me so much. I pray God opens my mind and helps me understand why such a beautiful human being left us. (maybe is because I’m selfish.)

  • Maria Mora says:

    May her soul rest in peace. This is very sad…
    She left a great legacy to her family, friends, students and FIU community.
    My condolences to her family

  • Hui Li says:

    The world lost one with a beautiful heart and a beautiful mind – a beautiful human being. Good memories about her will stay with me… Rest in peace, Fang!

  • Xiaoman Zhang says:

    She is the most stunning beauty I ever met, and yet, her inner beauty far exceed it. We often comment her seems forever frozen in time. Sadly, she will never look.

    Flashback: Dalian, 1985 after TOEFL, she pointed at a green grass and said: “Let’s have a nap there after lunch. When we come to America, there will be many green lawns like this.”
    May Fang Zhao forever naps on a fresh green meadow with warm sun over ….
    Missing her!

  • Peng Zhu says:

    May your soul Rest In Peace, Dr. Zhao. Life is a short trip but yours is definitely a brilliant one!

  • Jennifer Fu says:

    I am one of the many lucky people who had the fortune to become Fang’s friend. The invisible value she has left us will continue to enrich our lives. We will forever cherish her gentle elegance, her warmth, her sharp intellect, her incredible strength, and her loving heart. Her spirit lives, ever so livelier and more vividly with us.

  • Clyde Grey says:

    The Civil Engineering Student Protector – Dr. Fhang Zhao

    I have known Dr. Zhao since 2007 and she has been a tower of strength and an inspiration to me and to the Civil Department. If there is any form of assistance you need she will be the first to either assist you or make contact for you to get assistance. As we as student all know, that some things never go as plan at FIU and in the department, but Dr. Zhao will always be there to make it happen. She is a people person. She is always smiling. I can never remember a moment when I don’t see a smile on her face. Her presence will be greatly missed. Dr. Zhao you have made and left a mark in my life. One which I know I will be able to utilize to be successful in my profession. You have taught me what professionalism is about. You have taught me that life is more than just making money. You taught me that the true essence of life is to create an impact in the life of others. There were many plans we had for the upgrading of the Geotechnical Engineering aspect of the department but sadly we never get to finish them together. I know you have done your best in this life, and the reward will surely be bestowed upon your family. I am really at tears to know I won’t see you again. Love and Peace forever.
    I know your soul will be resting in Peace.

  • Yilei Shi says:

    I truly love you Dr. Zhao. You were such a nice person and always ready to help. Sorry, every time I came to see you, I was asking for your assistance. Now, I graduated, and I got a job. And I’m working hard for the betterment of my career and my family. But, I will never see you again in this world…

    I definitely will contribute to the Fang Zhao Endowment for Women in Engineering Leadership. That’s all I can do now. But, that still does not help… I just miss you so much!

  • Feng Wang says:

    May Dr. Zhao rest in peace. My deepest condolence goes to Dr. Zhao’s family.

  • Adong Xu, your student from Calgary, Canada says:

    It is a real shock to hear this sad news. She is the best teacher and works so hard. We will miss you Dr. Zhao.
    Send my deep condolences and sympathy to her family.
    May her soul rest in peace.

  • Haydee Caneda says:

    I don’t need an Angel on my Christmas tree, there is already one in Heaven looking down on me. In memory of my beloved friend Dr. Fang Zhao… you will be missed this Christmas as you have been every day of my life since the day you went to Heaven. I love you

  • Jing Qi says:

    博士毕业,戴着学究眼睛,任何人都不会不认为我是知识分子,还是高级知识分子。

    不是人贵在自知之名,窃以为从来不是知识分子,充其量是个识字多点,看书多点的人罢。

    从来没有对知识啦,研究啦有着执着的追求,就如当初我跟大连外国语学院的一位教授说的那样,英语嘛,就是一个工具,没有必要那么执着。我想自我内心已经认定了我不会成为知识分子,至多也就是把知识之类的当做工具而已。

    就是这样一个我,却有着三个博士导师。第一位是国内交通的奠基人之一,至今已有近八十岁高龄;第二位是台湾人,活跃于中美;第三位最年轻,就是Dr.Zhao,五十出头,爱新觉罗氏,如果幸运的话,也应该是一位格格。

    Dr.Zhao在我的学业中对我指导最多,帮助最大。Dr.Zhao是一个非常非常严格的教授,严格的我非常不理解,估计对我也不算满意罢。在美国周边都是师弟师妹,还是北京的师弟师妹,都是熟人,几乎从来不讲英语,Dr.Zhao坚持让我们在她眼前讲英语,词不达意都无所谓。记得刚去美国,在Green Library上GIS课,Dr.Zhao好意送我和33回工程学院,半路上Dr.Zhao左脚抽筋儿,我和33面面相觑,都不知道抽筋儿用英语怎么表达,最后逼得Dr.Zhao用汉语说了一句,我抽筋儿啦,我和33憋不住的笑。从心里是明白Dr.Zhao的苦心,但是我这个很懒,而且到美国也没打算留在美国,能不用英语就不用英语,并且在研究报告中,能走捷径就走捷径,搞得Dr.Zhao亦无可奈何。

    只是在我临回国的前一天晚上,Dr.Zhao,33和我一起去看了电影,吃了顿意大利餐,终于可以全程说汉语了,心里大呼“爽”。从言谈中,听得出来Dr.Zhao非常的渴望回国,可惜旅美已经近30年,根已经在了美国,无法放弃,也许孩子都大学毕业了之后,会回国。

    七八月份,师弟回国,在重庆与我见了一面,告诉我Dr.Zhao刚刚检查出肺癌,位置不好,不能手术,只能化疗。12月8日从大连回来,二叔告诉我Dr.Zhao passed away。

    英年魂断美国,愿真有另外一个世界,在那个世界可以魂归故土!

  • Tekisha Ivy Jordan says:

    Thank you for challenging me to succeed. I appreciate everything that you taught me.

  • Chenxi Lu says:

    Dr. Zhao, may your soul rest in peace. I was extremely shocked when I heard that you were fighting against deadly lung cancer. I chose not to believe it at first when Hongbo told me that sad news. You were so healthy in the party you prepared for me at the end of June. On the 31st of July you were still reviewing our TRB paper. On the 19th of September we were still discussing ASCE paper. The last email I received from you was on the 21st of September, in which you sent me the EIC website address of celebrating my Daniel B. Fambro Student Paper Award. In the emails you never leaked out a word about your sickness. Even now, what I can read from the emails are still your calmness, strong heart and positive attitude. You are still alive in my mind and we will miss you forever, Dr. Zhao.

  • Haizhong Wang says:

    I knew Dr. Zhao’s name much longer than I met her during TRB in Washington D. C., I am impressed by her determination for research excellence, her attractive personality, her attitude toward professional integrity from my conversations with her and from other mouths. Her elegant image in my fresh memory is the charming professor who stands in front of her students’ posters explaining the big scope and the small details in the project. Wish her soul in peace and her family members strong to face future.

  • Praveen Kumar Varala says:

    May your soul rest in peace and my deepest condolences to your family and FIU. We miss you,your smile and support.

  • Charlie Duverge says:

    My deepest condolences to Dr. Zhao’s family and friends. Her kind heart and graceful ways will be missed. She was a pillar of our community who endlessly helped us in time of need.

    I am eternally grateful for the impact she had on my life and I regret waiting until now to tell her.

    Dr. Zhao, thank you! May you rest in peace.

  • Tao says:

    Dr. Zhao, I will try to keep on smiling just as you always do, though my heart is aching. You will never leave us, and we will always love you…

  • Anusha Balineni says:

    May your soul rest in peace Dr. Zhao…My deep condolences to her family…she was the foundation for FIU Civil Department….definitely no one could ever replace her in the department!!!!

    We will remember you forever….

  • Chengjun Zhan says:

    Dr. Zhao, we are missing you and we will continue to miss you for a very long time. I was in a complete shock when I first heard the sad news. I had never imagined that you would leave us in such a short period of time and never come back. May you rest in peace.

  • aishwharya says:

    Dear Dr.Zhao,

    May your soul rest in peace. My deepest condolences to Dr.Zhao’s family and friends

  • Jon Sussman says:

    The CEC and FIU have lost a special person. She was a wonderful leader and mentor to students and staff and I’m honored to have been her colleague. May her memory be an inspiration for future generations.

  • Xin Li says:

    I had planned to visit you, but you just leave us. It is so hard to fareware. The pain of losing you is intense. We hold you close within our heart, and the place you will remain. Miss you.

  • Bin Li says:

    Professor Zhao is such a nice person.
    Its shocking to know this bad news.
    May her soul rest in peace

  • Jianguo Li says:

    Even though Dr. Zhao was in the hospital, she was still care about ITE growth. She was asking me how the ITE website update was going on and she also let me send her some pictures from ITE annual meeting. Every morning I open my eyes, her smile is around my mind. May your soul rest in peace and we will always love you…

  • Jenn Gebelein says:

    Fang you will be sincerely missed, my deepest sympathies to Fang’s family.

  • Fang Liao says:

    It was a shock for me, totally. She is so charming, the way she deals things, the way she treats people, the way she instructures students,, She is my model, Forever!!

  • Roberto C. Gutierrez says:

    In my 2 years in the FIU engineering campus, Dr. Zhao was the only professor who was involved and concerned about her students outide the classroom…..For example…..she suggested I submit an application for a scholarship she felt I had a great chance to win. After helping me thru the application process and going thru several interviews, I won the scholarship…..as faculty advisor for Chi Epsilon, she helped me in every way possible with my classes and my involvement in the engineering campus……I graduated in 2003 and she continued her support in my career for years…..
    It’s unfair to lose such a great engineer, but worst of all, to lose such a great person in every aspect! You will be missed Dr. Zhao! My deepest condolences to your familly and friends!

  • Jinyan Lu says:

    The first time I met her was in Wang Fu Jing Street in Beijing for the graduate admission interview. She gave me a smile and treated me a cup of coffee. I was shocked by her elegant image.

    The second time I met her was in her home in Beijing to pick up my offer letter. She was cooking for her mother and treated me a bowl of soup, I was shocked by her kind-hearted.
    .
    .
    .
    The N time I met her was in her office at FIU. She seriously criticized my carelessness and effortlessness on my assignment. I was shocked by her seriousness.

    The N+1 time I met her was back to her office with my redone assignment. She gave me a “naughty” laugh, and said “sorry about what I did just now. I did it on purpose. I know you could do great! See, I am right.” I was “angry” by her archness.
    .
    .
    .
    The second time to the last I saw her was in the hospital. She was weak and skinny. She gave me a deep kiss and said she would never give up. I was shocked by her spirit.

    The last time I saw her was still in the hospital. She was covered by a white bedsheet, from feet to head. I was shocked by this truth……

    Her loss is one which it will be difficult to overcome.

  • Weng Jingnong says:

    惊悉Dr. Zhao 不幸去世,惊愕之余,深为失去这样一位尊敬的教授,一位在中美交通学术交流发挥重要作用的优秀学者而十分惋惜。

    本人有幸在Dr.zhao的实验室工作学习一年,Dr.zhao渊博的知识、严谨的治学、执着的信念和拼搏精神给我很深的印象,每每与Dr.zhao交流,总能获得很多好的思路和想法,获益匪浅。而今,我回国已五年了,虽然,平时少有了联系,但在我心中,对Dr.zhao一直充满感谢和敬佩。
    Dr.Zhao 安息, 愿Dr.zhao的精神永存!

  • Jaya Lakshmi Kunisetty says:

    Dr.Zhao, May your soul rest in peace……we love you and miss you so much

  • Hugh Gladwin says:

    The statement below was circulated around a group of us who have depended on Fang Zhao’s collaboration and support of research on human dimensions of disasters. I read the testimonials here realizing as I had not before that we are part of a huge community who depended on her research leadership, brilliant scholarship and technical skills, teaching, and true friendship.

    With Fang Zhao’s passing we lose a dear friend and the colleague who most contributed to cross-disciplinary research at FIU. Since she came to FIU in the year of Hurricane Andrew she has understood and acted on the importance of linking social science and GIS with her engineering work in research on disasters and urban sustainability. She was a collaborator with Walt Peacock, Betty Morrow, and me on many projects since then, Co-PI on one of our NSF projects, and key research person on others (including one current). Through her abilities as a wonderful teacher and leading GIS expert at FIU, students who learned so much from her classes were not just in engineering but across the university. We who worked with her will have to redouble our efforts to try to compensate as best we can for this enormous loss.

  • Jiancheng Weng says:

    I even don’t know Dr. Zhao except for her name from my friend–one of her graduate students. I also regard her as a good friend of BJUT, and heard something about her tremendous contribution on establishing favorable connection between the BJUTand the FIU. Today, I was greatly shocked and teared by all the words here delieved by Dr. Zhao’s friends, students, and colleagues, and I realized that so many people were deeply hurted by her leave.

    Hope you and your family can keep peace. My deepest condolence goes to them, all of your harmonious family. She will be alive in everyone who know you or even don’t know you. They will moved by your soul and you left to the world.

    I am so sorry that I can only use such poor English to express my respect to you. May your soul rest in peace.

  • Lillian Costa says:

    Dr Zhao … what a pleasure meeting you and listening to your advice… I miss you. God Bless

  • Eva Porras says:

    Words can not express the sadness I felt when I heard the heartbreaking news of Dr. Zhao’s passing. She was someone who reallly went above and beyond her duties and truly cared about the student’s future. Always so pleasant, she would take time from her busy schedule to help a student who was in need; even if it was really late at night.
    FIU and Dr. Zhao’s students have not only lost someone with such exceptional academic and professional achievements but a human being who will be remembered by her compassion and kindness for everyone.
    Rest in peace Dr. Zhao!

  • Marcel says:

    Professor Fang Zhao

    Thank you for making a difference in my life and to many of your other students.

    God Bless you and your family during these difficult times

  • Adriana says:

    I had the privilege to study and work with Dr. Fang Zhao. I know without a doubt, that my accomplishments today are due to Dr. Zhao’s influence. She was a woman of amazing grace, beauty, and wisdom. A friend when needed, an understanding ear, an encouraging and most demanding teacher, a force to be reckoned with when she truly believed in a cause, and above all…a loving and kind soul. She made a difference in the life of every person she met. There was a happiness about her that was most contagious, always finding the good in every one. Knowing her was a great honor, I will miss her more than I can convey in words, and I am certain this is true of every person that knew her.

  • Hongzhi Guan says:

    惊悉赵放教授不幸去世,深表哀痛。赵放,安息吧!关宏志

  • Jorge Pena says:

    I had the pleasure of having Dr. Zhao as my professor for 2 of my graduate classes. I heard the news last night and I was shocked. Besides being a great professor, she was an outstanding human being. She will be missed.

  • Tanya Jackson says:

    Dr. Zhao had one of the warmest heart that a person in her position allows themselves to have. She recognized when students needed support and while I was dealing with the death of my mother, she was a great encourager and friend. She was instrumental in my transition from the bachelors to masters program. I will always love you Dr. Zhao and give my mom a hug for me until we all meet again.

  • Tanya Jackson says:

    Dr. Zhao had one of the warmest heart that a person in her position allows themselves to have. She recognized when students needed support and while I was dealing with the death of my mother, she was a great encourager and friend. She was instrumental in my transition from the bachelors to masters program and I am thankful.

    I will always love you Dr. Zhao and give my mom a hug for me until we all meet again. I will always remmber your beautiful smile… May her family be comforted and may her soul rest in peace.

  • Yan Xiao says:

    All the good memories about you are kept in my mind. They will never go away. May your soul rest in peace.

  • Qing Xia says:

    I felt heartbroken to hear the news yesterday that Dr. Zhao passed away last week. I just couldn’t stop my tears the whole afternoon. How I wish that this was all just a bad dream, and when I woke up in the morning, someone would tell me that it was not true and she was still alive….

    Dr. Zhao was my advisor when I did my graduate study in late 90’s. Her great help has made my graduate life much easier in the States. I knew that I had someone to trust and go to whenever I had difficulties. When I first arrived, I hadn’t found a place yet to live in. It was Dr. Zhao and her family generously offered me to stay in their own house. This really gave me a big and warm family feeling! She cares about her students, but this doesn’t mean she would lower the academic standards. She would often spent long hours sitting with me and discussing the projects in details, and sharing her perspectives and visions. She would push me hard when I was progressing slow. She said ” I like you as a person, but you’ve got to work harder”….

    Dr. Zhao is a key person for me to make decisions in my life in the US. I remember when I was reluctant to go for a job interview from faraway Phoenix, she said: “if you’ve applied for the position, and got an interview but you don’t go, that is not professional. You’ve got to give it a chance! ” thanks to her, I have lived in Phoenix happily for more than 10 years, despite its over 100 degrees hot summer:)

    Dr. Zhao has many positive influences on us. Her love and dedication to the work, her candidness, sincerity, and caring for the people, and her passion and enthusiasm to explore the new things…..will be always living in our memory.

    Dr. Zhao is a charming person. From her you can see the co-existence of “passionate and serene, profound and simple, affectionate and proud, subtle and straight forward”…

    I love you and really miss you Dr. Zhao. My tears keep dropping when I think of you. As Washington Irving said, “there is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.” — that’s how I feel. If I had known that I had only two years to spend with you in my whole life, I would have done anything to extend it…… Although I haven’t contacted you for a couple of years, you’ve been, and will be, always in my heart.

    Thanks for everyone else sharing their stories. Dr. Zhao had such a beautiful life, which is really enriching and inspiring.

    Dr. Zhao, may your soul rest in peace….

    昨日惊闻我在美念研究生时的老板Dr. Zhao在上周因肺癌去世了. 看着EMAIL, 我的眼泪止不住的流……几年没有联系, 得到的却是这样的噩耗, 令人心碎.

    DR.Zhao是一位长的非常美丽高挑的北京女性. 气质高贵, 又有北京女性特有的大气和爽快. 我永远忘不了1996年的夏天, 收到她给我的全奖, 圆了我的美国梦. 我永远忘不了, 刚到美国时, 住在她的家里, 她家浓浓的书卷气, 和对我的照顾, 也忘不了, 每周在她的办公室MEET, 讨论课题的美好时光; 忘不了她穿着长长的裙子, 在教学楼里忙碌的身影, 还有她讲课时, 镜片后美丽大眼睛中闪着的光, 忘不了, 当我收到遥远的亚省给我的面试通知, 我不想去, 她说的:’你都申请了, 不去面试, 多不PROFESSIONAL啊’, 就这一句话, 我去了, 而现在在这里已经住了十多年…

    Dr.Zhao对我在美人生的决定,起了关键的作用. 我因她而来, 又因她的一句话选择了现在居住的地方. 在我的印象中, 她是那么年青, 美丽, 有活力.她总是笑容满面, 她总是和颜悦色. 因了她, 我刚来美国的生活过渡的平稳顺利. 我总是庆幸, 上天带给我她这样一个贵人, 让我的留学生生活少了很多的艰辛.

    我怎么能想到, 那些和Dr.Zhao在一起的美好的时光, 只能永远留在记忆里. 我怎么能想到, 1998年毕业的分别, 就是永远不会再见…如果我知道, 在我生命中, 只有短短的两年的时间和Dr.Zhao相处我一定会想尽办法延长它……我是多么的后悔,没有早和她联系, 虽然我一直在心里想着她…还记得她对我说, 一放假就回中国, “因为父母年纪大了, 看一回就少一回…” 如今, 话犹在耳, 她的母亲还健在, 而她却已离去…

    Dr.Zhao对我来说, 亦师亦友亦家人, 她总是给予, 而我却无以回报, 我还在等着她什么时候来我这玩, 如今却在人间再也看不到她的倩影…我总觉得, 她就还在电话的那一头, 只要一接通电话, 就会听到她爽朗地笑, 熟悉的北京腔, 还有她的鼓励….仿佛她还在对我说,I like you as a person, but you’ve got to work harder…

    Dr. Zhao是那种为数不多的融合了东西方文化精华的人. 在她身上, 你可以看到”又热烈又恬静, 又深刻又朴素, 又温柔又高傲, 又微妙又率直”的特质, 非常有魅力.

    我真的非常非常思念她…..我只能含泪望着夜空, 想象着她已变成了一颗明亮的星星, 在那里闪耀, 永远照看着我们…..

    我还是不能相信, 多么希望这只是一个恶梦, 明日醒来时, 一切如昨, 她还在那座美丽的校园里, 留着短发, 穿着漂亮的裙子, 站在讲抬上, 精神充沛地, 冲我们微笑……就象以前一样.

    我知道自己心里有一个位置, 因她的离去, 而永远空着……

    人生真是如梦, 当知道珍惜时, 昔人已去……留给我们的, 是无尽的思念……

  • Jenny M. Toruno says:

    I never had enough words to thank Dr. Zhao for all her assistance. Her multiple professional and personal advices along with her beautiful personality will always remain in my heart and mind.
    My deepest condolences to her family and friends.
    Rest in peace professor.

  • Paulina says:

    This is very sad news. Please let us know how we can contribute to her endowment.

  • 吴徽 says:

    惊悉赵放教授因患肺癌与世长辞!噩耗传来,母校师生无不悲痛万分!

    赵放教授是北京建筑工程学院七七级杰出校友,1982年1月留校,在计算机教研室任教。1985年赴美留学,她以优异的成绩获得卡内基-梅隆大学博士,并成为最早在美国大学担任教授的中国学者之一,为中国学生争得了荣誉。

    赵放教授一生治学严谨、勤奋执着,在学术上始终保持着创新与顽强的拼搏精神。她曾两度担任北美华人交通学会会长,在中美交通学术交流发挥了重要作用。

    1994年我赴美学习时,得到了赵放同学的诸多帮助。2007年,是她和席云平教授一道,鼓励我回国,使我们结成团队,为振兴母校一起拼搏。三年来,她在美国担任系主任的繁重工作的情况下,三次回母校指导科研教学工作,并与本校教师一起申报国家科研课题,指导和帮助修订交通工程专业教学大纲。

    然而,事业未尽,她却离开了我们。北建工大家庭为失去一位杰出的学者、坚强的战士而悲痛万分!

    赵放教授不屈不挠的精神,将永远激励后人!

    赵教授安息吧!

  • Alfred Lurigados says:

    Your kindness and dedication will be missed but not forgotten. Rest in Peace.

  • Elsa says:

    I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Zhao when I was enrolling in the master program, I will always remember her ability to listen and to give needed advice, as well as her wonderful smile.

  • Ervin C. Margolles says:

    Dr. Zhao, was a helping and caring individual, she will be missed by us all, it was very sad for me when she left at the end of last semester and now is worst to hear this news. Please accept my condolences, to her relatives and close friends

  • Yuxiang Wang says:

    Dr. Zhao Fang has always been and will always be the big rock in my heart. I did not meet Dr. Zhao through academia, but to me she represents wisdom, kindness and beauty ever since I was a little kid. Dr. Zhao you will always be that beacon in my life. We all miss you dearly although I know you are still with us. 王宇翔

  • Natalie Defraene says:

    I just heard about Dr. Fang Zhao’s passing last week and I am truly saddened. I have good memories of Fang–she loved to talk about her children, whom she adored, and she was always encouraging people, including me. I will keep her family in prayer. So sorry for this news.

  • Faculty Council for Governance (FCG) says:

    The Faculty at the College of Engineering and Computing is deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague, Professor Fang Zhao. Respected and loved by all students who have worked with her, Dr. Zhao was a gifted researcher highly regarded by her peers, a firm but caring advisor and mentor who successfully guided a new generation of engineers and leaders in her profession, a dedicated graduate program director who tirelessly improved the graduate advising process, an effective leader who led her department to its highest enrollments and research funding ever, and most of all, a beautiful, eloquent, and loving human being who touched the lives of all she came across. Dr. Fang Zhao will remain an inspiration to all of us and continue to live on in our minds and hearts. She will be greatly missed.

  • zhao zhiqiang says:

    zhaofang –my best friend, you rest in peace,missing you…

  • Ling says:

    赵教授,一路走好,我们永远想念你

  • Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture says:

    惊悉赵放教授因患肺癌与世长辞!噩耗传来,母校师生深感悲痛!
    赵放教授是北京建筑工程学院杰出校友,她以优异的成绩获得卡内基-梅隆大学博士,并成为最早在美国大学担任教授的中国学者之一,为中国学生争得了荣誉。

    赵放教授一生治学严谨、勤奋执着,在学术上始终保持着创新与顽强的拼搏精神。她曾两度担任北美华人交通学会会长,在中美交通学术交流发挥了重要作用。

    赵放教授始终不忘母校培养,努力推进贵校和北京建筑工程学院的学术交流与合作。在她担任系主任的繁重工作的情况下,三次回母校指导科研教学工作,并与本校教师一起申报国家科研课题,指导和帮助修订交通工程专业教学大纲。

    赵放教授的逝世不仅是贵校的一大损失,也是我校的损失。值此之际, 我们谨向贵校以及赵放教授的家属表示沉重的悼念和诚挚的慰问,恳切希望赵放教授的家属节哀顺变,保重身体。

    錢軍
    北京建筑工程学院校务委员会主任

    郑文堂
    北京建筑工程学院院长

    —-

    We are shocked and saddened to learn of Professor Fang Zhao’s passing away due to lung cancer.

    Professor Zhao was one of the distinguished alumni of Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture (BUCEA). She received her Ph.D. degree from Carnegie-Mellon University with top honors. She then obtained a faculty position at FIU, becoming one of the few Chinese professors in the United States at that time. Many Chinese students viewed her as an excellent role model.

    Professor Zhao was a rigorous, devoted, and hard-working scholar with an innovative and indomitable spirit. She was twice elected the president of the North American Chinese Oversea Transportation Association (NACOTA). She played an important role in establishing the academic collaboration between China and America in the transportation field.

    Professor Fang Zhao never forgot BUCEA, where she came from. She dedicated her efforts to improving academic communication and cooperation between Florida International University (FIU) and BUCEA. In spite of the heavy workload involved, she made great contributions to BUCEA, while serving as the Department chairman at FIU. She went back to BUCEA three times to help professors improve their teaching and research. She sincerely advised them to apply for national research projects and also participated in modifying the curriculum of the traffic engineering program.

    Professor Zhao’s death is a great loss to both universities. We would like to give our deepest condolences to her colleagues, families, and friends and sincerely wish her family hope and comfort in their time of grief.

    Sincerely,

    Qian Jun
    Provost

    Zheng Wentiang
    President

    Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture
    1 Zhanlanguan Rd.
    Xicheng District
    Beijing 100044
    P.R. of China

  • Andres Diaz says:

    There are people that pass thru life without being noticed. This was not the case of Dr. Fang Zhao. She left her fingerprints well marked on many of us. Dr. Zhao was a great teacher, advisor, supervisor and friend. What a pleasure knowing you! Thank you for all that you did for me!!

    What a deep sorrow….

  • Yihua Xiong says:

    My family and I are greatly shocked and saddened to know Fang has passed away. Fang and I worked together at FIU for two years from 1992 to 1994 when Prof. Shen was the department chair. We worked together and became good friends. She’s such a brilliant person, nice and kind. After I left FIU I met her again 10 years ago when Fang and her family visited this area. When I heard the news last night, I really cannot believe it. We miss her! May Fang rest in peace.

    Thank you all at FIU for helping her family pass this difficult time – especially her son and daughter are still too young. Everyone, take care of yourself.

  • Evelyn Rodriguez says:

    Dr. Zhao was a brilliant professor, nurturing adviser and lovely person. She was always concerned about the students and wanted them to do well. She always encouraged us to pursue a higher education and helped us in any way possible. She informed students about scholarships, graduate programs and job opportunities. She believed in every one of us and pushed us until we succeeded. I am very grateful to have had her as the civil department chairperson. I learned a lot from her and she guided me in making the right decisions regarding my career path. Also, by working with her in Chi Epsilon I got to see her dedication and desire to see student’s progress at school.

    I was very sad and shocked when I heard she was diagnosed with cancer. I contacted her as soon I could through email and she replied back stating she was feeling better and proceeded by asking when was I going to start graduate school. That was just another indication of how much she cared and wanted students to achieve in regards to their goals.

    Dr. Zhao will be missed very much. I looked up to her and considered her my mentor. May she rest in peace. My deepest sympathy to her family and friends.

  • Vijay Kumar Rayabharapu says:

    Professor Zhao, you were very much helpful to many of the students including me…. May your soul rest in peace……we will miss you so much

  • With much sadness, I have learned today of the passing of Fang Zhao. I can’t express my feelings. Last time I visited Fang Zhao was back in the Spring Break in 1987. Throughout all these years, we kept in touch by a few phone calls; however, many members of my family and friends knew of her.

    Fang Zhao was one of my Father’s favorite students. He always praised her as intelligent and hard working. This is perhaps why she was so admired among all the Chinese students of our time.

    In August 1985, Fang Zhao and I both received scholarship from American universities. She was going to Pittsburgh, and I was coming to Chicago. In our household, from my grandma to my brother, they all were very happy for us. My parents hosted a family dinner to congratulate us, and to encourage us. At the same time, they were also hoping Fang Zhao would look after me, who came here for undergraduate studies. Before leaving China, Fang Zhao was helping me fill out all necessary forms and translating English documents. Before coming to the US, I learned first-hand of her strong ability and command of the English language. Reading all of the comments above, I realized even more that her life was all about helping and teaching others.

    May Professor Fang Zhao rest in peace! May the sprite of Professor Fang Zhao forever be with us!

    惊悉噩耗,心中的感受有些说不出。想来上次见到赵放,还是1987年春假。这些年,虽然来往不多,但在亲朋好友聚会时,赵放的名字时常被提起。

    赵放是家父的得意门生之一。85年夏天来美国前,她是家里的常客。父亲对她的评价是聪明加刻苦。这也许是她日后成为我们这一代留美同学中的佼佼者的原因吧。

    1985年8月,我和赵放分别得到美方奖学金并赴美留学。她到匹斯堡;我来芝加哥。在我家里,从奶奶到哥哥,都为我们高兴。父母设家宴,对我们表示祝贺,并鼓励我们。同时也托付赵放,远程关照来美读大学本科的我。出国前,我所填的英文表格,需要英译中的文件,几乎都是赵放帮我翻译的。我人未踏入美国,已深知赵放的英文功底雄厚了。读上面所有人的留言,我更深刻地体会到赵放的一生助人为乐,诲人不倦。

    赵放教授安息吧!赵放教授做人做事的精神永在!

  • Nancy T. Diaz-Quinones says:

    Dr. Zhao may your soul rest in peace. Even though I did not have the chance to share a class with you, the couple of times we talked you showed me your kidness and your positive views, Thank you!!!

  • Jian Lu says:

    平凡中彰显不同

    人通常梦想超凡,但平凡是多数人的归宿。赵放的魅力体现在“平凡中彰显不同”,在“浮躁、名利”的世界,我们尚不如她的沉着。

    真心希望有多维空间的存在,生命在一个空间的消失可能意味着在另一个空间的诞生。当想象到可能在另一个空间重逢,悲切即可化作期盼。

    纪念故人的目的何在?想想生命的意义,更懂得珍惜平凡。平凡中创造世界,过好每一天!

    陆键
    University of South Florida

  • 陈禹 says:

    悼赵放

    赵放教授,是我优秀得意的学生;是我同一教研室合作舒畅默契的老师;是我全家老老、少少的知音朋友。

    赵放教授的长相、人品、学识和能力都是超人的。总是助人为乐,诲人不倦。身高1.76m, 俊美漂亮,窈窕不单薄,大眼睛,粉白肌肤。身体健康,会打球,垒球掷远常拿第一;性格大 方高雅,笑容可鞠不自敖,学习工作都优异,聪明伶俐又肯干, 思维敏捷又周全。她的计算机程序设计在上机时总是顺利通过;还记得四位老师在四机部六所同时编写求解大方程式的程序来实际考察计算机的运行速率,她完成得又快又好。是一位优秀人才啊!

    和赵放一同工作过几年,很多往事情节历历在目。1985年她赴美国深造,后来在FIU任交通工程学教授和土木系主任。对中美学术交流起了良好的促进作用。赵放在美期间,我与她见面的机会很少了,通电话也不多。可是心是相映的,她把改专业研 究交通工程告诉我,并关心中国和北京的交通问题和培养人才;她生了宝宝给我寄来母子照片,母子笑的开心,笑的太可爱了。真是赵放开心,我高兴。赵放一家高兴,我全家也高兴。2009 年我在芝加哥与赵放通电话知道她系主任和导师工作非常之忙。当时,她孩子还小,我心中有些耽心!就这样她还问我有无合适研究生给她推荐,关心中国的人才培养。

    闻赵放噩耗传来,半信半疑,总不相信是真的。我不能平静, 精神恍忽,夜寐不安! 真的是“白发人送黑发人”,心里有说不清楚的滋味。想到赵放的年迈妈妈、哥哥、曾先生和他们的孩子,如何能承受得了!老天竟如此的不公平!生死不可易,怎么办呢!……

    赵放是值得我学习的表帅。走好吧!安息吧!赵放的光辉永在!

  • Tongyan Pan says:

    I feel so sorry to hear this… May your soul rest in peace, Dr Zhao.

  • Xiaoduan Sun says:

    Seeing the lights of Miami disappear into the night sky as the plane climbed to high altitudes on December 4, 2010, I wish what had happened in the last two days was simply a bad dream. Bad dreams can always be forgotten in the light of a new day, but I knew it was real as uncontrollable tears gushing down my face.

    I flew to Miami two days ago to visit Fang, who was fighting an aggressive lung cancer in Miami’s Baptist Hospital. After several months of persistent coughing and under her husband Xiao Gang’s urge, Fang finally visited a doctor and was diagnosed with Stage-IV lung cancer on August 13, 2010. Even though I was devastated by the news, I had hoped she would fight the disease in defiance of all her doctors’ expectations and contain the cancer cell growth with new treatment. Somewhere I read that cancer research has made the biggest stride in the past decade, making the survival rate much higher than what it was in the last century.

    No one was prepared to see this cancer spread so fast. Within a three and a half month time period, the cancer cells had devoured her entire left lung, despite the chemo and other treatments. When the radiologist revealed this fact in the hospital on Friday morning, 12/03/2010, I felt my body could no longer hold my sinking heart. Only two weeks ago, in response to my deeply concerned email to her, Fang wrote back ensuring me that she was fine and asking me not to worry too much about her. It would be her last email to me. Her condition deteriorated rapidly in the few days after the email. She did not even have the opportunity to start a new clinical trial, which offered encouraging results to lung cancer patients with ALK gene mutation for which Fang was tested positive.

    Fang and I first met about 16 years ago at a conference in Pittsburg, PA. Like most people, I was initially impressed by her beauty that she never fully realized. Fang is attractively tall at 1.76M (a she considered embarrassing in her youth as she later shared with me). Her beauty was complemented by both intelligence and elegance. We did not immediately become good friends, even though each of us made unique first impressions. A friendship developed gradually in the decade that followed, accelerating as she became the first female president of North American Chinese Overseas Transportation Association (currently COTA). During these years, we met and enjoined each other’s company at TRB annual meetings in Washington D.C., various NACOTA conferences, and trips to different locales in China. We often shared hotel rooms in D.C., which gave us the opportunity to learn more about each other. As we talked about thoughts and ideas, families and past life experiences, we discovered how much we had in common. Our views on work, life, and the secular world are similar. After high school, we both spent three years in countryside for “re-education” before going to college in 1978 and both of our fathers were victims of the political witch-hunt movements in China during the past dark years.

    All of Fang’s acquaintances would agree that she is an honest, diligent, devoted professional possessing the highest level of integrity, which is hard to find. She took every task, big or small, seriously and always made her best efforts to complete these tasks, regardless of their significance in her personal advancements. In addition to performing research projects, she spent enormous amount of time preparing classes and did exceptional work. I was amazed by her methodical way of putting graduate GIS courses together. She was highly regarded by her professional peers and deeply appreciated by her students, evidenced by the flood of get-well cards she received, despite confiding the diagnosis only to a few close friends. Her high quality performance in the last two years as the Acting Department Chair led to the request for her to assume a higher administrative position in the college next year. She was also ranked high in a short list of candidates for a Directorship at a highly respected transportation research center in another English speaking country. She was at the peak of her professional life, by all measures, before August 13, 2010.

    Although we were linked together professionally, I got to know Zhao Fang mostly outside of her work life. She was the youngest of five siblings and had a happy family of her own (husband and two children) in Miami, Florida. She is the kindest person I have ever met, never speaking ill about others. Fang had a big heart towards the less fortunate. While most of us would be impatient to the persistent phone calls asking for donations, I was not surprised to learn that Fang always spent time responding to these calls and asking her husband to send checks to these organizations. She surprised the porters carrying huge loads of daily supplies climbing the rugged and steep steps in Huangshan by giving them cash and volunteered to tip the people who dragged the recreational boats along the Yangtze River Tour in 100 Yuan dominations. This humbled the rest of us sitting on the same boat since we, in response to her suggestion, only put forward 5s or 10s. Fang philanthropic contributions were part of her being, even though she lived frugally. She wore same dress year after year at TRB’s annual meetings and at our NACOTA summer conferences. Her natural beauty never needed fancy clothes or additions.

    Fang loved nature and all lives fostered by nature. After hearing so much about the Florida Everglades from her, my husband and I took a trip to visit their home in Miami last year. We had such a great time touring the Everglades, complete with an adventurous canoe outing, an educational boat ride to see American crocodiles and mangrove, and a visit to a resting forest for thousands of different species of birds. Because of her, we learned a lot about the animals and plants that habituate the vast wetland that she loved dearly. Sometimes, her love for nature or animal lives puzzled people. She cultivated all sorts of native Floridian wildflowers and plants, which were like weeds to my eyes, in their yards. Few residents in her affluent neighborhood were less than pleased. She passionately won arguments with local people who came asking for the termination of these weed-like plants. Last year on a trip organize by the NACOTA conference, and hosted by the university in Harbin, passengers on our tour bus waited while she and her daughter, Leah, released small animals they had purchased back to the wild forest. I loudly protested and firmly demanded the evacuation of her two loving, mouse-like creatures, whose waste made an intolerable smell, on our train ride back to Beijing. Now, these memories make me laugh and cry at the same time, because they are so typical of my friend, Fang Zhao.

    In addition to her love of nature, Fang also loved music, art, and mostly books— good classical books. Early in their children’s lives, she and Xian Gang made a conscious decision for a TV –free household so that their children would spend time on constructive things, like music and books. Fang read more classical and contemporary books, mostly in English and a few in Chinese, than probably any of us who are majored in science and engineering. Due to that, she wrote eloquently in English- an ability many of us struggle with constantly as non-native English speaker. I always admired her clear, concise, and very logical writing on even the most complicated issues. In our NACOTA circle of friends, Fang was the best technical writer. Due to her unawareness of pop culture, she inadvertently came off as arrogant when her brother-in-law took her to dine with his friend 周迅, a popular celebrity in China. Afterwards, she asked me who the woman was and why it was a big deal to meet her.

    While Fang and I enjoyed common views on many important things in life, we also differed in some personal traits. One of the things I admired the most was her unpretentious personality. Some people talk big about themselves, and you hear their boasting, even in short conversations, about material possessions, professional achievements, outstanding status in society, association with well-known figures, degrees from top universities, etc. Fang was exactly the opposite end. You have to know her well to discover all her shining accomplishments and impressive network of friends and peers, which would make anyone envious.

    Fang is a much stronger and calmer person than I am. The last three and a half months have been a persistent nightmare to me, and to her family (both immediate and extended). When she realized the end might be near, she tried very hard in her weakened physical state to make sure her yet-to-graduate student would be taken care of and other professors would finish her research reports. She was also deeply concerned about the impact on her children and her mother, discussing with Xiao Gang how to minimize such impacts. When it was time for me to leave the hospital on 12/04/2010, she managed to open her big, bright eyes and whisper to me “I am ok.” When I turned back to hug her one more time, telling her, “I will be back to see you again,” she shook her head as hard as she could since she knew the end was close and she was bravely ready. Four days after my visit, Fang passed away peacefully in the hospital surrounded by her beloved family and sister from Beijing. Fang’s sudden passing leaves huge voids in her friends’ heart, many of them were not even aware of her ailment. Just as she never fully accepted her own beauty, Fang will never realize how many hearts will be broken by the tragic news.

    Fang lived a great life, a fulfilled life, a life she had no regrets, and a life worth celebrating. In a small part, I am so proud and honored to have shared in such a beautiful life and friendship.

    Xiaoduan

  • Xiaoduan Sun says:

    怀念赵放

    1956年,赵放生于北京一个幸福的家庭。作为家中的老小,她从一出生就沐浴在无限的爱之中。她是在姐姐、哥哥们的呵护下,父母的疼爱中长大的。正是这种世界上最美的爱,使赵放人生的第一个十年充满欢乐。赵家这个最小的妹妹长着一双明亮的大眼睛,聪明,漂亮。在她和大姐之间虽然还有三个哥哥,但由于他们是淘气的男孩子,赵放一直和大姐感情最深。

    1974年赵放高中毕业时文化大革命尚未结束,她同前面千千万万的高中毕业生一样,下放到北京远郊位于山区的延庆县,接受“所谓”的再教育。1977年是改变赵放人生道路的重要一年。高考制度的恢复使她有机会实现上大学的梦。由于中国当时 的社会刚从动乱中走出,百废待兴,许多程序都不规范,赵放的大学录取通知书迟迟未到她手中。那是1978年一个寒冷的冬天,怀着一腔热情,一片希望,赵放冒着鹅毛大雪从北京乘火车回到延庆下乡的地方,层层询问并找到她那份北京建工学院的录取通知书。当她完成包括体检在内一系列入学手续后来到学校报到时,第一批文革后的大学生已在北建工开课两周了。赵放的大学同班同学里有一位叫曾小刚的男生,因在下乡时时刻苦自学,数学和物理成绩特别突出。那个年代的女大学生,最崇拜的就是学习成绩好的尖子生(而不是房子,汽车,财富)。在小刚的帮助下,赵放的数理成绩也很快赶了上来,还担任课代表。大学期间他俩在一起学习的身影频频出现在校园里。大学毕业前夕,他们俩在一起的身影已开始出现在校园外的北京众多风景优美的公园里了。在小刚坚持不懈的追求下,这段美丽的交往最终开花结果。

    由于学习成绩突出,赵放1982年毕业后留校担任老师,84年考入大连工学院研究生院。一直迫切渴望在学术上有所成就的赵放于1985年被卡内基梅隆大学(Carnegie Mellon University)录取,开始了新的追梦旅程。她1987年顺利拿到硕士学位,老大宁宁出在91年读博期间出生了。当年紧张的读博生活使很多结婚的女博士不敢考虑要孩子,有一个来自印度的女博士,在赵放“勇敢举动”的影响下,也在读博期间把一个生命带到了这个世界上。5年后,任教于 FIU一个来自伊朗的女同事也在赵放敢于在tenure 期间生孩子的行为影响下,勇敢地在拿到终身教授前成为了妈妈。这两个互不相识的人至今都感谢赵放当年对她们的影响。赵放的一儿一女,虽然都不是在计划内来到她生活里的,他们的出生给赵放的生活带来了巨大的欢乐。

    赵放是难得的一个正直的人,一个坚定不移的追求她所认定的事业的人,一个实实在在、全心全意、满腔热忱帮助她身边每一个人的好人,尤其是对那些处于“弱势地位”的人。她对自己研究工作非常执着、认真,这一点在她科研项目资助单位里是有目共睹的。她的许多科研成果都在美其他州采用。 在今天强调科研第一的美国大学里,教学往往在工作业绩评审中占次要地位(终身教授或年度评审)。正因如此,许多大学教授只求教学“平均业绩”。而赵放的行动是从来不以个人利益的最大化来驱动的。作为过来人,她深知大学教育对学生一生的影响,在做好科研的同时,她忘我的投入在教学工作,认真关心学生的一切 (不论这个学生是不是她的得意门生)。在她生病期间和离世后,从众多大学生研究生们发自肺腑的感人话语中,可看出她的巨大影响。

    我们的第一次见面,是在16年前匹兹堡的一个会议上。今天,我还记清楚得第一次自己看到赵放美丽和端庄时的惊讶: 她一米七六的高挑身材. 眉清目秀,素面朝天,举止从容淡雅, 富于知性。赵放却对自己的美从来不以为然,听到赞美的话时总是淡淡一笑。尽管我们第一次见面对彼此印象深刻,但我们俩都不是一见就热乎的人。我们的友谊是在接下来的10年中,尤其是在她成为北美海外华人运输协会主席后迅速发展起来的。在那些年里,我们在TRB年会和各种NACOTA会议频频见面聚会,在华盛顿TRB期间,我们常在价格不菲Marriott或Holton旅店共处一室,这给我们分享彼此的经历见闻,增进了解提供了好机会。我们曾彻夜不眠,谈论事业,家庭,和人生经历,惊喜地发现彼此间有这么多相同之处。她看待工作,生活和整个世界的眼光都令我感到亲切。我们的父亲都是中国政治黑暗年代里的牺牲品。当年父辈所受的迫害都在我们成长的过程打下深深的烙印.

    赵放虽然为人处事原则性强, 她包容性也很强, 善解人意, 是我人生中见到的最和善的人之一,她从未说过他人的坏话(包括哪些她不认为能够成为朋友的人)。她热爱大自然和自然界所养育出来的一切生灵。在听她多次描述了关于佛罗里达沼泽地的许多美好风景后,我和丈夫决定去拜访他们在迈阿密的家。在赵放热情的导游下,我们在沼泽地度过了美好的时光,乘着独木舟观赏了形体巨大的美国鳄鱼和一望无际的红树林,还有丛林里成千种鸟类。因为她,我们了解到了她所深爱的湿地上生活着的多种动植物。她对自然的热爱近乎于痴迷,在自己的院子里种植了多种佛罗里达本土植物,而这些植物的外形在我们眼里几乎与杂草无异。为此,周围的邻居颇有微词。不过,她的热情执着地还是说服了那些想要“清除杂草”的邻居们。去年,在参加哈尔滨举办的nacota会议的旅游途中,她和女儿将买来的几个野生小动物放归森林, 并将两个貌似老鼠的小动物带上开往北京的软卧车厢.这些小动物产生的味道引起我的强烈抗议, 以至我们两家不得不分车厢行驶。

    除了对大自然的热爱,赵放还爱好着音乐,艺术,以及优秀的书籍。她家没有电视,她和丈夫希望孩子们能够把时间花到更有意义的事情上,例如音乐和阅读。她看的多是文字隽永的经典著作,英文中文兼有,这种读书习惯在我们这些理工科专业的人之中并不多见。由于广泛的阅读,赵放的英语写作能力卓越,深受我的羡慕。她文笔简洁,思路清晰,能够有条理的叙述理论复杂的事务。从她的文字里,我看到智慧和修养,品行和风度.

    这里我要特别提到的是赵放对NACOTA或COTA的贡献。COTA(Chinese Overseas Transportation Association) 成立至今已有15年了,这是非常不容易的。我们常开玩笑说,COTA是一个自发的群众组织,但是这个群众组织可不一般,它是由一群具有高学位,高智商, 多多少少都有点儿自命不凡的人组成。这样的一群人能在一起做事,大家必须能够互相尊重, 容纳他人的不同意见,相互包容,求大同,存小异。赵放在担任NOCATA主席的两年时间里, 尽心尽力的为COTA的大大小小事操心. 两年四个会议的筹办中总会有许多不顺和意想不到的风波, 面对困难, 她总是不急不气, 考虑问题总是从这个组织的利益出发, 以身作则, 不谋私利. 不涉及原则的事低调处理. 涉及原则 的事务要公开透明。在她的领导下, COTA为中美交通科技交流,做出过很多卓有成效的事情,也给我们留下有许多愉快的回忆. COTA应为有过赵放这样的杰出会员而骄傲自豪.。

    今天是 赵放离开这个世界的第47天. 我今远难忘她在生命的最后表现出来的坚强和镇定. 那她患病的三个半月期间,对她的家庭和我来说都是持续的恶梦。当她意识到日子不多时,不顾身体的虚弱,也要找到她信任的教授来继续指导自己尚未毕业的学生,委托其他的同事,完成她在病中尚未写完一个研究报告。她十分担心自己的离去对孩子们和母亲可能造成的影响,和小刚讨论了如何减小对孩子心理冲击的办法。并让她的姐姐哥哥保证不要在第一时间里对她妈妈说出她离去的真相。12月3日,当我离开医院的时,她努力的睁开自己大而明亮的眼睛,轻轻对我说:“I am ok.”。我再一次的拥抱她,告诉她我还会再回来看她。而她却使劲的摇头。她已经勇敢的做好了准备。在我离开迈阿密的4天之后,在挚爱的家人和从北京赶来的姐姐及从D.C.飞来的表姐的围绕下,她平静的离开了这个世界. 眼睁睁看着她在生命最璀灿的时侯,永远的走了,实在令人心碎。.

    赵放的大部分骨灰已按照她的遗嘱洒在佛罗里达州的Everglads 余下的将由她姐姐带回中国和撒在她没有去过的黄石公园。

    赵放的一生,自强不息,无怨无悔,美丽而充实,值得钦羡庆祝的。能与她共享一段真挚的友谊,是我一生的荣幸。

    孙小端
    于2011 年一月23日COTA纪念赵放的追思会, Washington D.C.

  • Edward J. Kant says:

    I met Fang through the FIU Student ITE chapter several years ago. I immediately felt that this was a delightful and really intelligent person. She had come to hear me speak to the students at a Chapter Meeting and afterward, while we were all enjoying a snack, she asked if I would be interested in speaking to one of her GIS classes. I was so surprised that she would ask after only hearing one short presentation, but that was how she was. I did speak to that class and she and I fast became close acquaintances. Unfortunately, she has left us too soon and we never got to be real friends since I only saw her once or twice a year.

    She was a lady, a scholar, a friend, a Mentor, devoted to her family and her work. One person whom I shall sorely miss.

    Rest in peace, Fang….

  • Frank Baron says:

    I was -I still am! -truly saddened by the news of Fang’s passing… I am glad, and richer, for having known her. Two months after her far too early death, I too, miss her.

    Yes, she was diligent, and smart, and very good at what she did. She was a well-respected colleague of hundreds of transportation planning professionals across the country and around the world, and we were so very fortunate to have her in our own back yard. I worked with her for many years, both directly and indirectly, as she consulted for us at the Miami-Dade County Metropolitan Planning Organization on a number of projects, was a member of TRB, and was a significant contributor and advisor to the Florida Model Task Force.

    I retired in 2006, and we more or less went our own ways, with hers an active, abundant life of family and professional involvement. It was only late last year, through our mutual friend, Li Shi-Chiang, that I learned of her illness. Though I understood her illness was cancer, I thought for sure I’d be seeing her again, this year, in 2011.

    How wrong I was. And now she is gone.

    I will remember her for many wonderful qualities. I recall her ease with English, and how well she expressed herself and wrote. Like many of us, I will remember her grace. Possibly even more, despite being a gentle person, I’ll miss her sense of connection and intense focus with everything that she was engaged in. Most of all, I will miss her delightful sense of humor, her wry self-deprecation, and wonderful laughter when something amusing or ironic came her way.

    My condolences to her family, friends, and the FIU community, all of whom she loved and served so well. May her memory live on in the lives of those who knew her.

  • Bo Qian says:

    天妒英才, 一路走好

  • Ileana Diaz says:

    In hearing or rather seeing this…Words cannot express how truly sad I am…I remember Fang’s stories,…her smile..and her laughter…my thoughts and prayers goes to her family..

  • Keng says:

    I couldn’t believe and still don’t want to accept this terrible news of Dr. Zhao’s passing away. Everyone (who worked with her or worked for her) knew how wonderful and inspiring person she was. Words fail to describe her. Although her life was cut so short, her memory will be lit forever. I will miss her dearly and my heart went out for her family and friends.

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