Tag Archives: University of Iowa Shooting

The Story of the Victims Less Remembered

While researching the tragic event of the school shooting in 1991, a common trend jumped out at me. The majority of the articles and blogs that I read went into great detail about the shooter, Gang Lu, explaining his past thoroughly and his accomplishments at the University of Iowa. The articles that did focus on commemorating victims only went into detail about T. Anne Cleary, most likely because she has a walkway dedicated to her, and Miya Rodolfo-Sioson, who had a documentary made telling her story. These are important to commemorate, but what about the victims who don’t have a walkway dedicated to them or a documentary telling their story? It is important to remember them as people, and as more than just a statistic. Most of the information I could find was from a short dedication to the victims on the university of Iowa website, but I thought that it would be nice to commemorate their histories on our Life After page as well.

Linhua Shon was born in Jiaxing, People’s Republic of China. He received his B.S. degree in China and later transferred to the University of Iowa where he earned his Ph.D. He was the winner of the Spriestersbach award which recognizes excellence in doctoral research. Shan was a member of the theoretical space physics team at the University and wrote his dissertation on the structure of Saturn’s ring system. He was only 26 years old when he was killed.

Dwight R. Nicholson was born in Racine, Wisconsin. He became a faculty member at the University of Iowa in 1978 after earning his bachelor’s degree in physics at the University of Wisconsin and his doctorate in plasma physics at the University of California-Berkeley. While working at Iowa he also conducted research in plasma physics, was a member of the U.S. Department of Energy Transport Review Panel, and a member of the University’s Strategic Planning Committee for Interdisciplinary Programs. He was 44 years old when he was killed.

Robert Alan Smith, born in Boston Massachusetts, came to the University of Iowa in 1989 as an associate professor. Before coming to Iowa he received his B.S. degree in science engineering from the Northwestern and his doctorate in physics from the University of Maryland. He was also involved in postdoctoral research at Goddard Space Flight Center and was a visiting scientist in France and the Netherlands. He was 45 years old when he was killed.

Christoph K. Goertz was born in Danzig, Germany. He came to the University of Iowa in 1973 as a research associate and became a full professor in 1981. Before coming to Iowa he earned a bachelor’s degree from the Technische University in Berlin and his doctorate in South Africa. He was very involved in research, publishing over 150 scientific articles. Some of his research interests were the northern lights and the interaction between Jupiter and its moons.

All of the above names are commemorated on a wreath outside of Van Allen Hall every November. Until doing research for this assignment, I personally had never noticed the wrewreathath or heard anything about it, and by asking around it seems as though a lot of other students here don’t know anything about it either. By telling just a small amount of information about the lives of these victims I hope to help more people remember the lives who were lost on the tragic day 23 years ago.

Maravetz, Steve. “Fyi – Article Title.” Fyi – Article Title. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.

Míya Rodolfo-Sioson: Activist and Sole Survivor of the UI Shooting

Míya Rodolfo-Sioson was the sole survivor of the University of Iowa shooting on November 1, 1991. When she was working as a receptionist, she and five others were shot by an angered graduate student. Míya lost use of her arms and legs. Although she became paralyzed after the shooting, it didn’t stop her from pursing her passion for helping others. She believes that “to live is to also help others along the way.” She went back to school directly following her three month rehabilitation. She continued being an avid activist, and she involved herself in the forefront of disability rights.

Míya attended the University in 1986 for Global Studies, and she met her college boyfriend at a political rally. In the fall of 1992, Míya received a humanitarian award in recognition of exceptional contribution to human rights. She worked on the Women’s Resource and Action Center, Central America Solidarity, and was chair of University of Iowa Lecture. Before the shooting, she and a friend drove from Iowa City to Al Salvador to aid those who were directly affected by repression, and she planned to move to there after graduation. Although her plans changed, her dedication for others didn’t stop after her time at Iowa.

Wanting to be known for something she did, rather than something that happened to her, she moved to Berkeley, home of the disability movement. She was able to rely on public transportation, and that’s when her independence thrived! For five years, she worked as a program coordinator for a student exchange organization. After, she joined the Commission of Disability in 1998 and then was chair for two years. She focused mainly on housing issues. In 1998, she also aided in helping to pass a city program for people with severe disabilities to have emergency attendants.

Míya’s remarkable story was captured by a documentary directed by Daniel Julien. It was made in 2008, shortly after Míya’s passing at 40 years old due to cancer. Although her physical body isn’t here anymore, Míya’s inspiration and story of incredible strength and perseverance live on. She says, “I have a lot to live for, even if it’s not the life I expected at the beginning.”

Telling Míya’s story is important because it not only serves as an encouragement for others, but it shows society that meaningful lives aren’t dictated by physical ability. Life may not turn out how you thought it would, and that’s perfectly okay.

Learn more at http://www.miyafilm.com/Remembering_Miya/Remembering_Miya.html

Written by Gina J.

Special thanks to Prof. Rodgers for letting us borrow this documentary.