Iowa History Daily: On November 1, 1991, a former University of Iowa graduate student named Gang Lu shot and killed three faculty members, an Associate Vice President, a fellow student, and himself. Lu also seriously injured another student in the attack which represents one of the darkest days in the history of higher education in Iowa.
During May of 1991, Lu graduated with a doctoral degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Iowa. Lu grew disgruntled after the faculty didn’t nominate his dissertation for a prestigious award which he believed would have aided in his ability to find postdoctoral work and stay in the country on an extended visa.
On Friday, November 1, following a meeting on theoretical space plasma at Van Allen Hall in Iowa City, Lu opened fire with .38 special. He killed Professor Christoph K. Goertz, Lu’s doctoral advisor, as well as Professor Robert A. Smith and winner of the coveted prize Linhua Shan. Lu then descended to the second floor where he killed Departmental Chair for Physics and Astronomy Dwight R. Nicholson. Leaving Van Allen Hall, Lu stalked three blocks to the Jesup Hall office of T. Anne Cleary, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and primary grievance officer of the university. After shooting Cleary in the head, Lu also shot student worker Miya Rodolfo-Sioson who survived but lived the rest of her life paralyzed from the neck down.
Lu allegedly planned to kill University President Hunter Rawlings III, but Rawlings had traveled to Columbus, Ohio for the Iowa vs. Ohio State football game scheduled for the following day. By the time police located Lu he had shot himself in the head and died soon after. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar