Chapel Hill community comes together for UNC professor killed on campus

The UNC Chapel Hill community came together at the iconic Bell Tower at the University of North Carolina on Wednesday to gather for a moment of silence in honor of the associate professor who was killed on campus this week.

Dr. Zijie Yan had been with the university since 2019. Yan earned multiple degrees in China before coming to the United States where he earned his doctoral degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic University in New York.


Yan also spent time at the University of Chicago where he worked under chemistry professor Dr. Norbert Scherer.

Scherer says the two stayed in touch when Yan left to become a professor, first at Clarkson University in New York then at UNC.

He says Yan was respected by his colleagues and was great at mentoring students.

“Zijie, absolutely as a young scientist, was certainly on a great trajectory to become a dominant person in his field,” Scherer said.

According to our sister station, WTVD in Raleigh, Yan led his own research group at UNC. The suspect accused of shooting and killing Yan on Monday was listed online as part of that research group. The two were also co-authors of a report that was published last month.

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