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MU celebrates alumnus’s $2.2 million lifetime giving in support of students

Celebration marks more than 30 years of support for students through the Liu-Him Memorial Scholarship

April 26th, 2019

Story Contact: Sheena Rice, 573-882-8353,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri officials announced today that Jim and Melanie Liu have given more than $2.2 million to MU in support of student success over more than 30 years. Most notably, the Liu-Him Memorial Scholarship has supported more than 100 students during that time period. With their latest legacy gift to the Liu-Him Endowed Scholarship fund, the Lius have established themselves as important contributors to student success.

“We are honored to have donors like Jim and Melanie who have dedicated their lives to helping students at Mizzou,” MU Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright said. “Hearing success stories like this one is great, but what’s even more amazing is the impact one person can have on others. These gifts have helped pave the way to degrees for more than 100 students. That kind of support is life changing.”

Jim Liu, a devoted alumnus with three degrees from MU, established the Liu-Him Memorial Scholarship in 1988 in honor of his grandfather. The Liu-Him Memorial Scholarship is given to two to five Missouri resident students every year who have financial need and maintain a GPA of at least 2.5. The scholarship amount varies according to the student’s financial aid package and their need. Lucie Trokey, a past recipient of the Liu-Him Memorial Scholarship and a current student at MU, said that the scholarship gave her a greater sense of financial confidence while she pursued a degree.

“When I opened the email with my financial aid offer, I actually started sobbing,” Trokey said. “The scholarship covered all of my tuition, fees and books, but it also meant that I could take out less loans and not have to rely on financial help from my parents. This scholarship has meant to so much to me, and I am forever grateful to the donors.”

Jim is a lifetime member of the Mizzou Alumni Association, and both he and Melanie are members of the Jefferson Club and Columns Society. Their children, Stephanie and Phillip, also are MU alumni and are active donors and supporters as well.

Liu said that his desire to help future Mizzou students stems from his start at the university when he was young and new to the country. Liu arrived in Los Angeles in 1969 after his father and grandfather encouraged him to move to the United States to pursue an education. After some time in California, Liu and a friend decided to fold a map in half to determine where to go to college. The University of Missouri, in the middle of the Midwest, ended up being his pick.

“When I was 18, I said I wanted to go to school in the U.S.,” Liu said. “I said I would give Mizzou one year to try it out, but I ended up staying for 10 years! Missourians paid for part of my education with taxes, so I’ve always wanted to give back and help Missouri residents with financial need go to college.”

After graduating from MU with degrees in chemistry and nuclear engineering, Liu pursued a career in radiation therapy and applied physics. He became president of the California-based Applied Physics Consultants Inc., and is currently a medical physicist at Huntington Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Pasadena, California.

Editor’s note: Liu’s name is pronounced, “Loo.”