March 30, 2021 at 5:38 pm

Alumni News | Christine Liu Says Coming to OHIO ‘Forever Changed my Life’

Christine Liu, portrait

Christine Liu

Ohio University alumnus Christine Liu ’93 recently made a donation to the Linguistics Department, recalling the momentous impact of her time in Athens.

“To be honest with you, I feel my meager donation is way past due. What OU and the Linguistics Department did for me is priceless, and I feel forever indebted to them,” says Liu, who earned an M.A. in Linguistics from OHIO and now has her own law firm in California.

“Christine, or Zhinan as she was known then, came to the Linguistics Department in the fall of 1991 from China on a full scholarship (tuition scholarship and a teaching assistantship),” says Dr. David Bell, associate professor and chair of Linguistics.

“The scholarship allowed me to leave China for the first time in my life, and my education at OU forever changed my life,” says Liu, who was a TA in Chinese for the first academic year and worked under the supervision of Dr. Meihua Zhai. Her second year, she was offered a TA position in Linguistics.

“Dr. McGinn was in charge of the TA program at the time. Both Dr. McGinn and other TAs with higher seniority than me helped me tirelessly to transition successfully from a Chinese TA to a Linguistics TA,” Liu says.

“The Linguistics Department was like a big family to me. Everyone was so friendly, helpful and open. I remember fondly my fellow classmates and my professors, namely, Dr. Beverly Flanagan, Dr. Dick McGinn, Dr. Neil Anderson, Dr. Keiko Koda, Dr. Jim Coady, and Dr. Marmo Soemarmo. And everyone loved Penny (Forsyth) in the office, too.”

‘My First Time Walking on the OU Campus…’

But OHIO offered Liu more than just academics. “My time in Athens offered me the gateway to the American culture and American way of life, she says.

“I remember watching Hillary Clinton stumping for Bill Clinton at the OU campus in 1992 — my first glimpse into the U.S. presidential campaign in the battleground state of Ohio, my first potluck party with my classmates and professors from the Linguistics Department, my first time walking on the OU campus rubbing shoulders with students from all over the world, my first time eating American food at the school cafeteria. The list goes on and on.  Having lived in the U.S. for almost 30 years now, I regard Athens as my hometown, because that is where my life in the U.S. began,” says Liu.

“My education at OU,” she says, “allowed me to seamlessly adapt to my law school education later on. My teaching experience at OU helped me tremendously with public speaking and advocacy in court. I have been practicing law in California for 20 years now, helping people solve their problems in life, and I run my own law practice. I view myself as a proud American, and I have fully integrated into the American society.

“But for OU and the Linguistics Department, I cannot be who I am today. I view my small donation as a late thank-you note to the department. I hope to continue to show my appreciation and support of the department for many years to come.”

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