Steven Liu MS ’85, one of the leading American corporate lawyers in Beijing, recently passed away at the age of 46. He lived in Beijing with his wife and two sons, both of whom attended Harker’s Summer English Language Institute. A memorial service was held on May 25.
Mr. Liu’s ties to Harker remained strong throughout his life: he started at Harker in elementary school, graduated from the middle school, and remained in close touch with his classmates, teachers and coaches. His cousin Vincent Chang also attended Harker at the same time.
After Harker, Mr. Liu attended Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose for high school, University of California, Berkeley, for college, and the University of Pennsylvania for law school. With a powerful intellect, great writing and leadership skills, and the ability to speak fluent Mandarin, it was little surprise that Mr. Liu’s career led to Beijing, where he enjoyed tremendous success.
He opened the Beijing office of the prestigious law firm Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, and was named co-head of their China practice. The firm posted a note immediately after Mr. Liu’s passing in his company biography: “It is with great sadness that we share the passing in May 2018 of our friend and colleague Steve Liu. We and all who knew him will miss his warmth, generosity, humility and thoughtful insight.”
One of Mr. Liu’s closest friends at Harker was school trustee and federal judge John Owens. “Steve was the first kid to befriend me on the playground at Harker, for which I will be eternally grateful,” said Owens. “I was the new guy at school and didn’t know anyone, but Steve made me feel at home. Over the years, he was a great, great friend. He was always supportive, but also would challenge and push you when you needed to be challenged and pushed. In so many ways, he helped me succeed at Harker and beyond.”
Joe Rosenthal, Harker’s executive director of strategic initiatives, who has been working at Harker for the past 37 years, remembers Mr. Liu with great admiration. “[Retired teachers] Pat Walsh and Howard Saltzman and I were invited by Steve to have a few beers with him at Harry’s Hoffbrau, just a few months ago,” said Rosenthal. “That is the kind of guy he was, inviting his former teachers to get together with him decades after he graduated. We all had such a good time remembering Steve’s elementary school days. Steve was not only a very good student but a really fun person to be around; he was very involved in activities and with friends. He had a way of helping bring those around him up while still having a good time in the process.”
Mr. Liu’s other love was the Golden State Warriors, and Mr. Liu and his father, Allen, cheered them on in Oakland and over the internet once Mr. Liu moved to Beijing. He often complained that being a Warriors fan was a curse, but the team’s recent success changed his outlook.
To honor Mr. Liu’s memory, The Steven Liu Memorial Endowment Fund has been established at Harker. Classmates, teachers and friends have contributed to this fund, which will provide support to Harker students every year in perpetuity. Those who wish to contribute and be recognized as donors to The Steven Liu Memorial Fund may do so via check or online. Checks can be sent to the advancement office, 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129. Please include “Steven Liu Memorial Fund” on the memo line. If you would prefer to donate online, please visit Harker’s online giving page: www.harker.org/onlinegiving, select “Make an Annual Giving Gift,” enter the amount of your gift and on the “this gift is in memory of” line, type “Steven Liu.” If you have any questions, please contact Tiki Tse, director of donor relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.