A candlelit vigil was held in memory of Fan on 14th January (the above photo is not taken from Fan's vigil)Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez / Unsplash

Content Note: This article mentions a fatal shooting

Fourth-year PhD student at the University of Chicago and Cambridge alumni Yiran Fan was fatally shot on 9th January in a shooting spree in Chicago.

Fan was a PhD student studying in a joint program at the Chicago Booth School of Business and the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics. He had hoped to propose his dissertation later this year. 

Before moving to Chicago in 2014, Fan obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Peking University and a Master’s degree in Financial Engineering from the University of Cambridge. He achieved a Master’s degree at UChicago in 2015 in Financial Mathematics, and then worked as a research professional at the Fama-Miller Center for Research in Finance before becoming a PhD student.

Fan also served as a teaching assistant at Chicago Booth during the Autumn Quarter. While working as the Fama-Miller Professional Development Fellow for the 2020-21 academic year, he worked with researchers on their professional development.

Fan was working on several projects, including research on the interaction of bankers’ assets and liability management, and screening competition under flexible information acquisition. 

“A longtime member of the Booth and Economics communities, Yiran is remembered as a smart and incredibly talented student, highly respected by his peers and beloved by all who knew him,” Chicago Booth Dean Madhav Rajan wrote in a message to the Chicago Booth community

President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Ka Yee C. Lee wrote in a message to the University community that “This sudden and senseless loss of life causes us indescribable sorrow… In the days ahead, we will come together as a community to mourn, and to lift up fellow members of our community in this difficult and sad time.”


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 Zhiguo He, Fuji Bank and Heller Professor of Finance and Jeuck Faculty Fellow,  said in a statement by the University that “Yiran had every trait to be a rising star in a few years… As an intuitive thinker on deep economic questions, he was recognized as super smart, extremely diligent, and extraordinarily persevering.”

He added: “We just started working on something, and I never thought the journey would end so suddenly like this.” 

A memorial fund set up by He for Fan's family has received over $156,000 in donations (as of 22/01).

A candlelit vigil in remembrance of Fan was held on the 14th January. The vigil ended with the playing of a song composed by Fan. 

The dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, Maurice Charles, extended his thoughts to Anthony Faulkner and Aisha Johnson, other victims of the shooting.

“We blow out our candles,” Charles concluded, “confident that love can never be extinguished.”

The University of Cambridge has been contacted for comment.