UT engineering student Richard Truong died Wednesday, April 13.
Richard graduated from Kempner High School in Sugar Land in 2013. He enrolled at UT in the fall of 2013 and was pursuing a degree in electrical and computer engineering.
Richard’s sister Christina Truong said he was funny and caring toward his friends.
“He always joked with them,” Truong said. “He made [his friends] feel included, heard and seen. He would often walk people to their dorms or apartments to make sure they were safe.”
Truong said her last major interaction with Richard was during winter break when Richard helped her when she was feeling depressed.
“He did his best to take care of me and make sure that I was heard,” Truong said. “He was secretly checking up on my Facebook and tracking my phone. He even saved up from his summer internship to surprise me with being able to study abroad like I always wanted.”
She also said Richard had a hard time during their childhood.
“Growing up with parents who ran from the Vietnam War, my parents were always working to support us,” Truong said. “From a young age, Richard was always teased and picked on. He had so many stresses from bullying and home.”
Qian He, electrical engineering junior and friend of Richard, said Richard was intelligent and a source of stability and encouragement.
“I’ve known [Richard] for five to six years, not long at all in the grand scheme of things, but he has been such a constant figure in my life,” He said. “Richard has always been incredibly gifted but so humble about his intelligence, and without fail, he was willing to use his intelligence to help others with their homework or studying.”
Richard served as a TA for two engineering classes, and was an honest, patient and humorous friend, according to He. She said saw Richard grow from a reserved guy in high school to someone full of confidence and sass.
“Most of his college friends are likely to describe Richard as kind but bluntly honest,” He said. “When he was a TA, he was the only one who would could say, ‘Your circuit design looks bad, and you’re probably going to fail the test tomorrow,’ yet at the same time make you laugh and feel better about yourself. Richard was honest to you and never gave up on you.”
He said Richard would proactively help her prepare for class.
“Almost every time right before school and classes started each semester, Richard would message me asking about which textbooks or classes I was taking,” He said. “He asked if I was taking any classes he had the materials for, and he would just loan me all the textbooks or hardware that he had and I needed.”
Sriharsha Bandi, electrical engineering junior and friend of Richard, said Richard helped him become responsible and plan his college career.
“Richard and I have been in almost every class [together] since freshman year,” Bandi said. “Over the years, we have gotten to be close friends. One thing he really showed me was how to be responsible with work while being available to help others. He really helped me plan my future and aspirations at UT.”
Bandi said Richard was a selfless friend who greatly valued his friendships.
“I remember last semester, when we both had projects due at the same time, he put his own on hold just so he could help me finish mine,” Bandi said. “He was just a kind person that loved to help others.”
Richard is survived by his parents, sister Van, sister Linh, sister Hoa, brother Stephen, sister Lauren and sister Christina.