Queen’s students and faculty were saddened by the sudden loss of an outstanding student and friend, Tanh Van Quach, on July 23.
Quach, known to his friends as An, died in a skiing accident while vacationing in Germany. At the time of his death, he was participating in the 12-month Ontario/Baden-Württemberg (OBW) University Student Exchange Program at the University of Ulm. The OBW program is an inter-regional exchange between 17 Ontario universities and nine German institutes in the state of Baden-Württemberg.
“Things seemed to be going so well for him, it’s such an awful shock,” said former OBW Program Assistant Laura Esford. “The last time I spoke with him was in December. He expressed enthusiasm to come back to Queen’s and offered to help guide and provide any information about the exchange to other students… He was anxious to impart his knowledge to some of the other students.”
Quach, 21, a third-year life science student, studied the German language in his first year as an elective. Dr. Diane Pitts, a professor in the German department who taught Quach and helped him prepare for his year abroad, noted his enthusiasm for learning.
“Although An was studying sciences, he had chosen to take a language course as an elective. It didn’t take long for me to realize how fortunate we were to have An in our group,” said Pitts.
“[He] was always prepared and was a extremely bright student with a thirst for knowledge. But An’s contribution went far beyond that. His remarkably enthusiastic and humorous manner set the tone for the entire class. He was so eager to learn and to try something new that he couldn’t help but impart those qualities to his classmates.”
After his first year in an economy double room in Morris Hall, Quach became involved with the Main Campus Residence Council, and became a floor senior in Waldron Tower. Last week, the 2000-2001 council presented a slide show at the residence banquet, in memory of Quach and his dedication to the students he oversaw on the floor.
Chien-Ming Huang, ArtSci ’01, Quach’s best friend and roommate in first year and later fellow floor senior, shared his thoughts on the loss of his friend whom he describes as being “full of life.”
“Spending a full year being roommates and then next year being fellow floor seniors were simply good times. I can still remember the two of us, stuck in the same tiny little room but feeling right at home,” said Huang.
“The most fun we had was probably the time when everybody squeezed into our tiny little economy double… Despite the lack of oxygen, the air was very heart-warming.”
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