Daniel Patrick O’Neil of Lincoln, R.I., a master’s degree student in environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, was a scientist and an artist.
He loved math and earned a B.S. in civil engineering from Lafayette College, discovering his interest in the environment as an EXCEL Scholar, a Lafayette program that involves undergraduates in research. In 2005, Daniel studied storm-water runoff in a Pennsylvania creek and the effects of urban development on flooding and decided on hydrology as a career. He worked as a junior engineer at Pare Engineering in Lincoln during the summer 2006 and over Christmas break 2006-07. At Virginia Tech, he worked as a teaching assistant in civil and environmental engineering.
But Daniel was not all about work. He had a love of music, theater, and politics. He was very active in high school and college drama productions and variety shows. At Lincoln High School, in addition to competing on the cross-country and track teams, he would hang out and play music with his friends, Amanda Burbank, Gharam Han, Mike Truppi, Mike DiSano, Rob Harkness, and Rich Anatone.
At Lafayette, he continued his involvement in art and sports, according to a Lafayette memoriam. He was vice president of the Arts Society, a member of the Marquis Players acting group, and lived for two years in the Arts House, where he was an advisor. He played guitar and piano, and with his friends, Amanda Driscoll and Matt Roy, he performed at Lafayette block parties and reunions.
Daniel’s other interests were running; Red Sox baseball; Hokie football and basketball; backpacking; biking; skateboarding; and traveling, especially in Europe. He spent a semester in Brussels, Belgium, studying engineering, art history, languages, and culture and recently returned there to visit his host family. He traveled to most of the countries of Western Europe and planned to live in Dublin, Ireland, after graduation.
Daniel was exceedingly loyal to his friends and family. His friends plan to produce a CD of his music as a fundraiser. Twenty-five of his songs can be heard at his website, http://www.residenthippy.com/music.htm.
© 2009 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University