It is with great sadness that I write this brief memorial to one of our own. Xiaolan Bao, a professor of history at CSULB from 1993-2006, slipped away in her sleep on January 22 after courageously battling cancer for more than two years. She was 56.
Xiaolan was born November 25, 1949, in Rangoon, Burma. She studied in Hong Kong and China, before receiving her doctorate in history from New York University. She joined CSULB in 1993 and became a full professor in 1998. She was a role model and mentor to her students long before she joined Partners for Success. I was fortunate enough to have Xiaolan in my cluster group since 1999. I know firsthand how she was loved and respected by all her mentees as I took over some of her students during her illness.
Most of us know Xiaolan either though the Partners program, through committee work or as a colleague. She was active in research, but most did not know she was founder of the Chinese Society for Women’s Studies, which has grown to become a worldwide organization. Several years ago, Xiaolan embarked on an ambitious project to bring minority and underrepresented women's groups into the society. Her greatest regret was not being able to bring ALL Chinese women into the focus of women’s studies for China.
Anyone who met Xiaolan could not help but walk away with a deep impression of her infectious smile, her zest for life, her unassuming demeanor and her total compassion. I raise two examples as testaments to Xiaolan as a person. When we asked for sick leave donations on her behalf—her family would like to express their gratitude to all who contributed—we broke the university record. For the last two years and more, one of Xiaolan’s older sisters was her constant companion. Her entire condominium complex mobilized and were on call whenever the need arose, be it grocery shopping or hospital treatments.
As I said to so many people, so many times, Xiaolan was one of the best human beings I had the pleasure of meeting in this life. I can say on behalf of all who knew her that the world is lesser with her passing. Rest in peace, Xiaolan.