The family of alumnus Christopher Belfoure, of Ivoryton, Conn., has created a memorial fund in his honor. The Christopher Belfoure Chinese Studies Travel Abroad Fund will specifically aid students wanting to travel abroad, and will focus on Chinese studies at West Virginia University.

Christopher Belfoure died on July 3, 2011. He was involved in a fatal ATV accident.

In 2010, Belfoure received a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in Chinese. Following graduation, he took a position at EMC Worldwide in Shanghai, China, a company that develops software technology.

He loved the Chinese language and culture, and became excited about the prospect of living in China after a study abroad experience during his time at WVU. The experience helped him realize his career goals, and he firmly believed more students should have the opportunity to travel overseas.

“Christopher was so appreciative of all the help given to him while at WVU studying Chinese,” said Robin Chapin, Christopher’s mother. “He loved the language and the Chinese people. Christopher would have wanted other students to have the opportunity to travel to Taiwan and China to study. So, I have established a memorial fund in his name to so others might learn the Chinese language and culture.”

“Chris was the best son a mother could have,” continued Chapin. “He recognized and appreciated the dedication of a mother to her son. We became best friends with such a close connection. He was always concerned for my well-being as well as his sister’s. He achieved so much during his short time here. I was so proud of everything he accomplished and the dreams and aspirations he had.”

Hannah Lin, Ph.D., J. Vance and Florence Highland Johnson assistant professor and coordinator of the Chinese Studies Program, remembers Christopher Belfoure as a dedicated student who constantly strove to improve himself. She recalls that many of his classmates and friends relied on both his encouragement and support.

“Chris talked about giving back to WVU when he graduated,” said Lin. “We are very touched that his wish will be fulfilled through the establishment of this memorial fund. Thanks to his family, more students studying Chinese at WVU will now have opportunities to travel to China and Taiwan to experience the language and culture that Chris fell so much in love with.”

Christopher Belfoure is survived by his mother, Robin Chapin; father, Charles Belfoure; sister, Julie Conner; stepfather, George Chapin, and his step-mother, Gloria Mikolajczyk. The family hopes recipients of the fund will be inspired by Christopher’s love of China and by these words of wisdom written by Christopher to his good friend, Valerie Tinker, prior to her departure for studies in India.

“Embark on your journey and only look forward. Not too fast but not too slow. It is the ones that remain idle that get lost in the memories of the past and not the dreams of the future. We as human-beings need to dream again once more,” he wrote.

“He would have extended these words to the whole world if he could have,” says Chapin.

If you, or someone you know, would like to donate to the Christopher Belfoure Chinese Studies Travel Abroad Fund (2W585) please send your personal check, payable to the WVU Foundation, Inc., to: WVU Foundation Inc., PO Box 1650, Morgantown WV 26506. To make online gifts visit: Select the “Designation” drop down arrow and click on “Other” to enter Belfoure 2W585. If you have any questions about making a gift please contact Bonnie McBee Fisher, director of development, or at 304-293-4611.



CONTACT: Rebecca Herod, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
304.293-7405, ext. 5251,

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.