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Slain USC professor remembered as caring teacher, was expert in field

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Posted at 7:59 AM, Dec 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-03 11:34:01-05
LOS ANGELES (Wire Reports) - The USC professor who was fatally stabbed on the school's campus, allegedly by a student who is now in custody, had taught there since 2001.
 
USC officials identified him as psychology professor Bosco Tjan, who was married and had a son, according to media reports and a letter to the campus community from USC President C.L. Max Nikias.
 
But his full name was Siaufung Tjan, 53, of Cerritos, according to Lt. Dave Smith of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office.
 
Tjan was a training faculty member in the USC Neuroscience Graduate Program. He was an expert on perception, vision and vision cognition and helped found the USC Dornslife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center, where he served as co-director, USC officials said.
 
He received his doctorate in computer science from the University of Minnesota.
 
Chris Purington, project manager at Tjan's lab, said he never heard of anyone having a problem with Tjan.
 
"He was somebody who really cared about people. I know he cared about me," Purington said through tears. "He mentored people and he looked out for them. He spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a mentor and guide people."
 
He said the professor gave him a job both after he graduated from USC and after graduate school at the University of California-Berkeley.
 
The stabbing was reported at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Seeley G. Mudd building in the 3600 block of McClintock Avenue, authorities said.
 
Tjan, who was stabbed in the chest, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
 
No information was released about the male student, or a motive, but the USC Department of Public Safety said he was arrested without incident.
 
"This was not a random act of violence," according to a statement posted on the Department's website. "The Los Angeles Police Department believes this was the result of a personal dispute."
 
The university issued an alert to students warning of police activity at the Mudd building, but made it clear there was no threat to the campus or surrounding community, the alert stated.
 
People were nonetheless warned to avoid the area.
 
The murder occurred on the final day of classes before finals.
 
City News Service and The Associated Press contributed to this report.