Qiguang Zhao

Qiguang Zhao

  • Funeral Date: 3/29/15
  • Funeral Time: 2:00 p.m.
  • Date of Birth: 3/14/48
  • Date of Death: 3/13/15
  • Funeral Location: Skinner Memorial Chapel, Carleton College, Northfield

I am deeply saddened to tell you that Professor Qiguang Zhao died of a heart attack on Friday, March 13th, while in Florida. The Burton and Lily Levin Professor of Chinese, Qiguang came to Carleton in 1987 and single-handedly launched the Chinese language program. He initiated the Chinese Studies in China off-campus program in Tianjin and now Shanghai, leading the program more than 10 times. Qiguang was a favorite professor of many students, teaching a popular spring course on the “Taoist Way of Health and Longevity”, which included leading Tai Chi on the Bald Spot. He also taught courses in advanced Chinese, such as Chinese Poetry and Classical Chinese. He often taught using “huajing”, drawing lively cartoons that illustrated his points. Qiguang loved watching students grow in understanding of themselves and the world through experiencing another culture. But his knowledge and intelligence, kindness and generosity, and willingness to think with them about the big quest!

Qiguang was born and raised in Beijing, doing his undergraduate work in Tianjin and Beijing. He received his MA and PhD at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He was the author of several books and many articles in both Chinese and English, but was especially proud of his “Do Nothing and Do Everything” which applied the principles of Taoism to modern life. He commented almost weekly on issues related to the U.S. and China on an influential Hong Kong TV channel, Phoenix TV. In January, Carleton held a special screening of his major new three-part TV documentary, “Marco Polo: A Very Modern Journey,” on the travels of Marco Polo from Venice to Xanadu.

Qiguang was married to Litao Zhang and had one son, Zhiming. According to the Chinese calendar, Qiguang died on his birthday, March 14th, which is Pi Day, a symbolism which he enjoyed. A more complete obituary will be forthcoming.

Remembrances of Qiguang may be left on the Farewells site at: http://go.carleton.edu/farewells

A funeral service for Qiguang will be held on Sunday, March 29th, at 2pm, at the Carleton Chapel, with a reception in Great Hall following the service.

Please keep all of Professor Qiguang Zhao’s family, friends, colleagues, and students in your thoughts and prayers.

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