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Colleagues, Students Mourn Christian Professor

Professor William (Bill) Klug

Professor William (Bill) Klug

Professor William (Bill) Klug, a UCLA professing Christian beloved by students, Little League players, colleagues, his wife and his two young children was murdered by a student yesterday morning.

Klug, 39, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, died inside an engineering building near the campus’ south side.

Officials said Mainak Sarkar, 38, drove all the way from Minnesota to Los Angeles to shoot Klug.

“At the former student’s home, police found a “kill list,” which included Klug, another UCLA professor, and a woman in Minnesota, investigators later found dead. Police believe Sarkar had mental health issues and thought Klug had released intellectual property that harmed him, the officials disclosed.

Colleagues described Klug as not only brilliant but also kind and gentle.

Alan Garfinkel, a professor of integrative biology and physiology who worked with Klug to develop a computer-generated virtual heart, told newsmen; “I am absolutely devastated. You cannot ask for a nicer, gentler, sweeter, and more supportive guy than William Klug.”

Klug’s former doctoral student, Melissa Gibbons described him to the Times as an exceptional mentor. She recalled a time when Klug noticed another student struggling in his finite element modeling class and asked Gibbons to tutor the student: “He didn’t want to see her fail. To care that much in an undergraduate class says a lot about his character.”

In 2004 Klug, told the Westmont College alumni magazine, “Knowing there is a God responsible for the world makes a big difference in my motivation to understand it better. … I developed a habit of relying on God for what I felt was beyond my ability to control or what I couldn’t do for myself.”

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Peter Gianusso, president of the El Segundo Little League disclosed; “The professor loved surfing and frequently took his family to Los Angeles Dodgers games. He also enjoyed coaching his son’s Little League team in his El Segundo community.

“He’s a great guy, great father, and great husband. Bill was one of the kindest, most light-hearted, quiet person that you’ve ever meet,” Gianusso added.

Klug earned his undergraduate degree in engineering physics from Westmont College in 1997, his master’s degree in civil engineering from UCLA in 1999, and his PhD in mechanical engineering from Caltech in 2003.

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