Ithaca College alumna Yingyi Li-Dikov, M.S. ’08 was killed after being struck by a falling tree on Sunday in Kissena Park in Queens, N.Y. Li-Dekov was six months pregnant at the time.
The New York Police Department said the accident happened around 7 p.m. Li-Dikov, 30, was rushed to New York Hospital Queens but was pronounced dead on arrival. The baby did not survive.
Her husband Aleksander Dikov, 20, said they met in 2009 in New York and were married three years later in June 2012.
“She was a great loving person, a person you would want to have around for the rest of your life. She was a person you would want to have kids with and live with. She was always smiling,” Dikov said.
Li-Dekov, an international student, graduated from Ithaca College’s now defunct sport management graduate program with a Master of Science degree from the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance.
Li-Dikov first visited the college in 2006 when the School of HSHP hosted a delegation of three faculty and 10 students from Beijing Sport University as part of a three-week exchange program to study American theories on the management and marketing of sport.
Ellen Staurowsky, professor of sport management at Drexel University and former professor at Ithaca College, was Li-Dekov’s adviser during her master’s program.
Staurowsky said the name “Angel,” which is what Li-Dekov asked her American peers and professors to call her, was a fitting choice.
“She was funny and warm, and I think the fact that she chose the name Angel was very reflective of her world view in a lot of ways,” she said.
Staurowsky also said she remembered Li-Dekov as someone who was eager to be a part of the college’s sport management program.
“I have a vivid recollection of sitting in my office with her and talking about the fact that she so very much wanted to come to get her master’s from Ithaca College,” she said. “Angel was very proud of graduating from our program.”
Nori Wieder ’08 was part of the college’s master’s program in sport management. She said her small class of 10 to 15 people allowed her to get to know her classmates well, and that Li-Dekov’s intelligence and energy were evident.
“It was amazing that Angel was doing this program,” Wieder said. “She hadn’t been in the United States for very long at all, and to say that she was going through a master’s program in a language that was not her native language was impressive. She was obviously very intelligent and a great person to be around.”