Memorial celebrates life of student Thu Yain Kyaw

A memorial service was held Monday evening in Bovard Auditorium in honor of the Thu Yain “Roy” Kyaw, a USC Marshall School of Business student who passed away Oct. 27. He was 22.

Beloved · Students gather outside Bovard Auditorium Monday evening in preparation for Thu “Roy” Yain Kyaw’s memorial service. - Tony Zhou | Daily Trojan

Beloved · Students gather outside Bovard Auditorium Monday evening in preparation for Thu “Roy” Yain Kyaw’s memorial service. – Tony Zhou | Daily Trojan

The USC Sirens commenced the service with a beautiful rendition of “Come Home” followed by Roy’s father Kyaw Kyaw’s tribute to his fallen son.

“Since he was young, I knew he was a good boy. I tried my best, whatever he needed — we supplied. Life is not only for ourselves — we have to help each other,” Kyaw said. “Everything of his lifetime … he gave us so much gifts.”

The Kyaw family is comprised of USC alumna Khant Khant, his sister; current USC student Arkar, his brother; his mother, Kyu Ayu Maw and his father. His parents traveled 20 hours from Yangon, Myanmar, Singapore to honor Roy’s life with the USC community.

Before attending USC, Roy served Singapore, his home country, with two years of service in the army as a 3rd sergeant, according to Khant Khant.

The Dean of the Marshall School, James G. Ellis, shared a few words at the service.

“Thoughtful, mature, wise, kind, deep thinker, warm-hearted — a leader. Roy was an embellishment of what a Marshall student is about,” Ellis said. “He was a Trojan.”

His close friends shared how focused he was on his studies, as they mentioned his diligence with his work in the libraries. Roy balanced his time, however, allowing him to remain active in his business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi.

Abigail Chao, Roy’s Big Sister within DSP, reminisced about her time with Roy and shared a saying Roy once told her that kept her humble.

“Roy told me once, almost in passing, ‘We are not only lucky to have people love us, but to have people to love,’” Chao said.

When Chao first met Roy, he told her that one of his lifelong dreams was to hang glide because he mentioned he often had vivid dreams of actual flying.

Together they flew through the trees in Big Bear, harnessed to a line in the mountains, that allowed them to zip through the air. Chao also mentioned how they “flew” down a path in Malibu on mountain bikes as well as other forms of “flying.”

Chris Sanchez, Roy’s pledge brother in DSP, said Roy was his best friend at USC. Sanchez mentioned that he felt he barely saw Roy be physically a part of his pledge class duties, though he later learned that Roy worked in silence.

“He did not need to be recognized, [though] he was known to be the backbone of our pledge class,” Sanchez said.

Hanna Hurr, the pledge mom of DSP, spoke about Roy’s kindness. On Valentine’s Day, she did not want to go out due to an overwhelming amount of work. Roy motivated another brother in DSP to surprise Hurr with classic Valentine gifts.

As Roy reasoned to Hurr, “Every girl should get something nice on Valentines day.”

The USC community came together to honor Roy’s life. The orchestra section of Bovard was filled, and many people, including professors and family members, shared stories about Roy.

“Roy’s life was an inspiration … and now all of us have a responsibility to carry on his legacy — to be strong,” said Steven Lamy, vice dean for academic programs in the Dornsife School of Letters, Arts and Sciences.


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