Faculty, staff, and students gathered in USC's University Club on Monday to memorialize fallen USC psychology professor Bosco Tjan. The memorial was held a little over a year after the professor was fatally stabbed on campus.
About one hundred people attended the ceremony to share stories about Tjan. The service was organized by faculty members close to the professor.
Tjan was the co-director of the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroimaging Center. Before his death, much of his time was spent in the Center's MRI lab. That was a site where he formed bonds with colleagues and Ph.D. students alike.
Many of the individuals Tjan mentored over his career spoke to the crowd about the precious memories they have with him.
"I saw him pretty much daily for the last year or so before his passing. I kind of always thought he would be around," said Chris Purington, the lab manager for the site Tjan worked in. "I'm lucky to have met Bosco. He made a huge impact on my life. I can say with certainty that I would have no idea where I would be without him."
While most speakers celebrated his life and work, the abrupt end to his life still is a tragic reality to face for those close to him.
"During this year, I've had lots of dreams about Bosco. In those dreams, we talk like we did in the lab or at conferences. While in those dreams, I did believe that Bosco had never left us," said Pinglei Bao, one of Tjan's former graduate students.
On December 2, 2016, USC Department of Public Safety found 50-year-old Tjan stabbed to death near the entrance of his lab inside USC's Seeley G. Mudd building.
David Jonathan Brown, a 28-year-old doctoral student who worked in Tjan's lab, was arrested on suspicion of murder at the scene.
The case is still in pre-trial hearings, but in December of 2016, Brown pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges. Soon after, in February of 2017, Brown's public defender asked for an investigation into Brown's sanity.
Brown is in jail awaiting trial. If convicted, Brown faces between 25 years to life in prison. In the state of California, those who are found not guilty and plead insanity could still spend life in a state mental health facility.
Brown's next court appearance is scheduled for January 4, 2018 for a preliminary setting hearing.