A Real Mentor, Beloved Prof. Li

by Jenny Jihong He, Tongji University

In September 2005, I arrived at CSUN as a visiting scholar from Shanghai, China, and arranged by Dr. Justine Su, I met my mentor Prof. Mingfang Li, who looked gentlemanly, amiable, and smiling. "Jenny, here's my office key", said Prof. Li soon afterwards, who told me that I could use his office for reading and research if I want. "Jenny, do not call me Prof. Li. Call me Mingfang". He mentioned this to me a couple of times, though I continuously called him Prof. Li. While I was auditing his Strategic Management course at CSUN, he impressed me with his interesting and interactive classes, where he discussed a lot about cases of different companies with his students. Later, when I returned to Shanghai, Prof. Li once sent me some Starbucks case materials for me to use in my Tongji University's MBA Business teaching. One day, he told me via telephone: "Jenny, I would like to meet your MBA students at Tongji while you have your classes". "Oh, but Prof. Li, in that case, you need to get paid for the lectures". "No, of course," he answered promptly. I was very much moved.

As a Chinese American who stood out in his field, he was asked by Jilin University, a prestigious university, as well as several other universities in China to be their honorary professors, and he offered great help to them. Management is one of the key studies for the nation and Prof. Li needs to go back and forth between the US and China to deliver lectures or attend meetings or help with different research projects. Those who get to know him all feel that he is a very kind- and warm-hearted person. I still keep a souvenir with me, a set of PPT remote control and its attached flash disk. He ordered this from Amazon.com and sent me as a gift when I left CSUN in March 2006. Although I could no longer use it in my class today, I still put it in my desk drawer, a reminder of Prof. Mingfang Li. He is my real mentor, great guide, nice friend. CSUN is proud of him; and we are proud of him. For almost eight years since I met him for the first time, I never did call him Mingfang, his given name, but rather Dear Prof. Li. Today I would like to change my addressing: Mingfang, may your soul be peaceful in heaven! God bless you and we miss you!