Rice community saddened by loss of student

The Rice community has been saddened by the loss of student Vivian Ziwei Guan, who was killed Monday morning in a METRORail accident in downtown Houston.

Guan, 20, was apparently struck by a train around 8 a.m. July 22 when she crossed the tracks on her bike at Main and Walker streets. She had just gotten off a northbound train with her bike and was struck by a southbound train as she crossed the intersection.

Vivian Ziwei Guan

An architecture major, Guan would have been a junior this fall. She was employed as an intern this summer at Ziegler Cooper Architects, where she worked with Rice alumnus Scott Ziegler ’76.

“Whenever we placed Vivian on a new assignment, she mastered it with a quick study and was always ready to take on something new,” Ziegler recalled.  “Her enthusiasm was infectious, as was her curiosity about architecture and the world about her. The entire office at Ziegler Cooper Architects has Vivian and her family in our prayers.”

Dean of Architecture Sarah Whiting remembers that “Vivian was very special in the way that she combined such enthusiasm and intelligence in her work and also for the energy that she brought to the school. We will greatly miss her.”

John Casbarian, the Harry K. and Albert K. Smith Professor of Architecture, was one of Guan’s teachers. “Vivian was one of those rare students who stood out from the rest because of her incredible intuitive talent, intellect and optimism,” he said. “She was an absolute joy to have in studio, always curious and so excited about every challenge ahead. It’s hard now to imagine school without her.”

Guan was a member of Sid Richardson College and had been looking forward to returning home to New Zealand to be with her family before the fall semester.

“To those of us who knew her, Vivian was a thoughtful, cheerful student and friend who will be missed greatly by the Sid community,” said Elise Sawyer, who is a master at Sid Rich along with her husband, Earth Science Professor Dale Sawyer. “She was a dedicated student and bright light and we are shocked and deeply saddened.”

In a campuswide letter, Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson wrote, “We all extend our heartfelt sympathy to Vivian’s family and friends. Please remember that it’s important that we support and comfort one another as we grieve, and the Rice Counseling Center is always available to students for additional support.”



About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.