George Chen

George Chen

George Chen touched others in thousands of ways. He had a 1,000-watt smile, earned a high school award for 1,000 hours of community service and charity work, and thought math tutoring was "grand." His kind and compassionate spirit, however, was infinite and knew no limits.

George was born on September 19, 1994, in Ottawa, Canada, to Kelly Wang and Johnny Chen, the eldest of their two sons. He spent his childhood in the Canadian capital before moving to California. In 2012 he graduated from Leland High School in San Jose. At UCSB, George was studying Computer Science. George enjoyed swimming, hiking, tennis, and — just like his father — studying math. During his entire four years of high school, George came to school every day from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., before the regular school day began, to volunteer as a math tutor. He was creative, hard-working, gentle, sweet, super-friendly, and always sharing his bright, warm smile. He loved to laugh and play video games with his younger brother. Shelley LaMon, George’s teaching assistant for his Asian American studies class at UCSB, said he was “a kind soul, a dedicated student, hard-working and courteous. He was compassionate and concerned about others, and he had a smile that lit up the room. He was always positive and energetic and participated in everything.” George cared.

One of his favorite quotes: "Loving kindness and compassion are necessities, and not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." -Dalai Lama


Katie Cooper

Katie Cooper's "Safety Sis" award, hand-decorated in green glitter paint, was a prized possession. She received the honor from Tri Delta, her sorority, for helping to make sure that people got home safely around UCSB. "Katie was such a strong individual, and had the most optimistic outlook on life," said her sorority sisters. "She was known around the house as the ‘mama bear,' exemplifying true selflessness and generosity toward everyone she came in contact with. In any situation, she was the first to offer any- and everything she could, most frequently while wearing anything patriotic with tons of glitter." Katie, the daughter of Dan and Kelli Cooper, lived in Chino Hills, California, where she graduated from Ruben S. Ayala High School in 2010 with a 3.8 grade-point average. At UCSB, she was an Art History and Classics double major, ready to graduate in one month. She dreamed of becoming a museum curator. Athletic and energetic, she taught ballroom dance. People who knew Katie said she was bubbly, sweet and compassionate — the kind of person who asked shy boys to dance, baked cookies during finals week for her friends, and invited a crowd to her house on Friday nights during high school for pizza and movies. She loved penguins, hummingbirds, plumeria flowers, trees, high heels and reading. She frequently said, "Live life to the fullest, no regrets," and had a tattoo in Latin that said, "Love conquers all."


Cheng Yuan
"James" Hong

Even a gentle breeze has conviction. "Let hatred be gone with the wind,” said Cheng Yuan "James" Hong, who was kind in the most determined way. He became a vegetarian in third grade "not because of religion, but because he cannot bear to harm another living creature," said his brother. Friends and teachers recalled James as shy, gentle and reserved. He was hard-working, smart, honest and fiercely willing to help others, without expecting anything in return. James, who grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, graduated in 2012 from Lynbrook High School in San Jose, California. While in high school he volunteered at the Rainbow Chinese School in Cupertino. James liked tinkering around with anything electronic or mechanical, and at UCSB, he was studying Computer Engineering. He taught at a computer company in Taiwan and China, and participated in a programming marathon sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. When James wasn’t in front of a computer at UCSB, he liked to play table tennis. James’ years at UCSB were "the happiest time in his life," his parents said.

A resident assistant at Tropicana Del Norte dorm, where James lived his freshman year, said, “James brought a powerful positive energy to the lives of the people around him. He was very outgoing, always willing to get involved and lend a hand. He tutored several of his fellow residents, and any event at the dorms felt incomplete without James and his contagious laugh. We lost a defining part of our community when we lost James."


Christopher Michaels-Martinez

Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, who wanted to go to law school, also found success on a different kind of court: basketball.  "Chris was smart, gentle and kind," said his cousin, "until you met him on the basketball court. Then you were faced with a fierce, unrelenting competitor." Christopher, born Dec. 23, 1993, to Richard Martinez and Caryn Michaels, lived in San Luis Obispo County, California, and graduated from San Luis Obispo High School in 2012. An excellent writer, Christopher was studious and loved to read.

At UCSB he was an English major, with aspirations to attend law school (both his parents are attorneys). One of Chris's instructors said, "He had a great academic future and he was a man who cared." Christopher enjoyed travel, venturing to countries in Europe starting when he was very young. He also played sports from an early age, starting with soccer, then football and basketball.  His father recalled Christopher as an 8-year-old football player getting bowled over by a "huge" fullback during a scrimmage. Christopher was on the ground for two seconds, then picked himself right up, stomped his foot and continued in the game. "That’s the kind of kid Chris was," Richard Martinez said.

Friends remembered Christopher as happy, kind, smart and funny. One of his friends wrote, "Chris was generous with his belongings and his love. He treated every person and all of their thoughts and feelings with the utmost respect. Academically and athletically he was a bad-ass but his humbleness knew no bounds." On his last day, he had participated in a beach cleanup near UCSB.  That's the kind of person he was, too.



Patient, kind, not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude — those are well-known words from the Bible to describe what "love" is. It’s not surprising that Corinthians 13:4-7 was one of Weihan "David" Wang's favorite biblical passages. Because those are words people used to describe him, too. Quiet and humble, David didn't go unnoticed. Many of those who knew him echoed his parents, who said David, their only child, was "gentle, kind, loving, joyful, peaceful, faithful and self-controlled." He helped care for his grandmother, shared his toys with kids who didn't have any, and was always nice to everyone.

David migrated from China to Canada and the U.S. with his parents, Jinshuang "Jane" Liu and Charlie Wang. He graduated from Fremont Christian School in 2012, and was an exemplary student. From a young age he was determined to work hard: At age 4, for example, he pushed his tricycle up five flights of stairs with no help. At UCSB, he was a Computer Engineering major. Friends said he helped create a campus guide map called Gaucho Life for a computer programming class, never complaining about how complicated the coding was. David also loved playing basketball, and was a Lakers fan. He had a great bank shot.

Along with Corinthians, David loved a passage from John: "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I have learned from my Father I have made known to you."


Veronika Weiss

Veronika Weiss was a wiz at many things, with playing water polo, doing complicated math and making people laugh near the top of the list. Her UCSB sorority sisters said Veronika (a Tri-Delta member just like her mother and grandmother) was "a constant, energetic presence, always wearing Converse shoes and a positive attitude. She spent more time at the chapter house with us than anywhere else on campus. Her smile lit up every room and her enthusiasm for life motivated us to become better versions of ourselves. We could always count on her effortless humor and wit to brighten up our days."

Born in Seattle, she loved overcast skies and cold weather, but easily became a quintessential California girl and tomboy equally at home on the beach or on a snowboard. Veronika, daughter of Bob and Colleen Weiss, and sister of Cooper and Jackson, lived in Thousand Oaks, California, and graduated from Westlake High School in 2013 with a 4.3 grade-point average. She was All Marmonte on her water polo team (No. 11), and participated in three other sports: cross country, softball and swimming. Prior to starting high school, she was the only girl playing baseball in a league of 500 boys. Veronika's favorite color was purple, known by all. She admired actor Channing Tatum, and loved to listen to "Beats" by Dr. Dre. She was outgoing, well-liked and a strong leader, often standing up for those who were bullied or social outcasts. "She would do anything for anybody," her parents said. "She always organized friends getting together, and her answer to doing something — anything — was always, 'Yes!’" Her sense of adventure was unstoppable.

Veronika’s mantra, her parents said, was, "Experience as much as you can. If you make a commitment to do something, do it 100 percent. If it doesn't work, select something else and do that 100 percent. Have fun and laugh like you mean it."