April 16, 2008

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Biographical Statements of 32 Lost

University Commemoration | April 16, 2008

Ross A. Alameddine
Beloved son, brother, cousin, friend. English and French major. Computer builder, tournament winning gamer, support expert, beta tester. Loved rollerblading, movies, and all types of music, especially jazz. Pianist, vocalist, passion for performance. Creative, insightful, individualistic, compassionate. Enjoyed debate and voiced strong opinions. Loved life, cheering people up, and making others laugh.

Christopher James Bishop
Jamie. "Herr Bishop." Dearly-loved husband, devoted son, gentle colleague, generous friend. Talented artist and photographer. Rigorous, fun-loving, no-nonsense, easy-going; passionate about the environment, nature, art, and teaching. Keen wit, contagious enthusiasm; avid hiker, film connoisseur, Braves fan. Convinced studying foreign languages was fundamental to understanding humanity.

Brian R. Bluhm
VT alumnus; Bachelors and Masters Degrees, Civil Engineering; specialty: Water Resources. Member, Baptist Collegiate Ministries and MotownSports. Civil Engineering Teaching Assistant. Endless thirst for knowledge; interests wide-ranging. Loved God, as shown through his friendliness, kindness, warm smile, memorable laugh. Loved his family, his friends, Detroit Tigers, Virginia Tech and its sports. Lived each moment.

Ryan Christopher Clark
"Stack" to his friends. Proud member of the Marching Virginians. School tutor and volunteer for numerous service organizations, food banks, and summer camps for the mentally impaired. Resident advisor; West End Market worker; advisor for the Residence Life Imaginarium program. Infectious smile and laugh. A collector of friends. Cherished by his family, band mates, and friends.

Austin Michelle Cloyd
Lived life boldly and with purpose. Embraced new experiences; passionate volunteer with the Appalachia Service Project and as a children's day camp counselor. Loved reading, scuba diving, music, concerts, college basketball, travel, and adventures with friends. Brilliant mind, compassionate heart, and an iron will. An inspiration to those who follow her in service.

Jocelyne Couture-Nowak
"Madame." Devoted mother and wife. Passionate, inspiring teacher of French. Lover of nature, filled with community spirit, dedicated to preserving her francophone heritage. Embraced a life filled with long family hikes in the forests and with flower-filled home gardens. Loved gatherings of friends and students; cherished her family. Brought joy to others through her own joie de vivre.

Daniel Alejandro Perez Cueva
Came to Virginia from Peru with his mother and sister. Accomplished high school athlete; member of the National Honor Society. An International Studies major who dreamed of bringing people together and making the world peaceful. Bought his mother a home; cared deeply for his family and his friends. A captivating smile, and a role model to all who knew him.

Kevin P. Granata
Committed to God, his family, education and research. Distinguished scholar in biomechanics, specializing in movement dynamics. A prolific, visionary scientist who believed theoretical and empirical research could change the world. A true friend, colleague, and mentor. Offered help to others to the end of his life.

Matthew Gregory Gwaltney
Outstanding graduate student and skilled Civil and Environmental Engineering teacher. Deeply concerned for our environment. Numerous academic achievements and honors. A master of sports statistics and trivia, and a devoted Hokies fan. Avid high school basketball and baseball team member. Honest, generous, and intelligent. A valued role model and mentor.

Caitlin Millar Hammaren
Contagious smile, eyes that sparkled. Made everyone feel like her best friend. Led many volunteer activities. A top fund-raiser for Relay for Life. Resident advisor in the Residential Leadership Community and a nationally recognized residence hall leader. A joyful participant in her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Loved riding horses, singing, and playing the violin. A teacher without trying.

Jeremy Michael Herbstritt
Loved to hike, kayak, bike, ski, and work on the family farm. A Penn State Civil Engineering honors graduate. Discovered the first West Nile virus-infected mosquito in Centre County, Pennsylvania. An avid runner, marathoner and 50 mile relay racer. Passionate about life, family and friends. Phenomenal friend, brother, son, and teacher.

Rachel Elizabeth Hill
Loved to read, especially novels and the Bible. An accomplished classical pianist. A goal-oriented freshman with plans for a Ph.D. in nanotechnology biochemistry. A beautiful, poised friend and leader. Enjoyed classic movies, playing volleyball, shopping for shoes, and hanging out with her parents. Always prepared and always diligent. Dedicated to glorifying God in all she did.

Emily Jane Hilscher
Much loved daughter, sister and friend. Skilled horsewoman, animal lover, enthusiastic cook, and imaginative artisan. Wise beyond her years. Insisted on fairness in everything and wanted others to be happy. Member of Tech's Equestrian Team. Dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. Strong work ethic; a determined attitude. A sparkle in her deep blue eyes and her face always wore a smile.

Jarrett Lee Lane
A fun-loving man, full of spirit and a caring heart. A friend to all he met. Narrows High School valedictorian, Tech Engineering scholarship winner. Excelled in academics, tennis, football, basketball, track. Loved being a Hokie and attending sports events. Joined Campus Crusade for Christ, interned for Tech's Site and Infrastructure Development Department. A serious student who lived to the fullest.

Matthew Joseph La Porte
Loved playing music; relished the challenge of the Corps of Cadets. Played tenor drum for the Highty Tighties. Member of the Southern Colonels, the cadet jazz band. Showed strength, stamina, and academic excellence. Mastered the Air Force Special Operations Preparation Team. Creative, considerate, mature. A cadet and a person with unlimited potential.

Henry J. Lee. Henh Ly
Extremely bubbly. The young man with the open smile and zany personality. High school salutatorian, a Tech Dean's List student. Lover of computers; technical support for family and friends. Creative, interested in origami and photography, he liked to watch movies and hang out with friends. Ninth of ten children, he loved his family, and in return was treasured by them.

Liviu Librescu
Dedicated to his family, his students, and his field. A Holocaust survivor, he was determined to become an engineer, despite the enormous challenges of World War Two and living in communist Romania. An internationally renowned aeronautical engineering educator and researcher, with a host of honors from many countries, he embodied profound courage throughout his life, even in its final moments.

G.V. Loganathan
Beloved husband, dedicated father, committed to his family here and in India. A valued friend and colleague, kind, gentle and wise. Accomplished scholar, one of America's most respected hydrology and water resources systems experts. Numerous teaching awards including Tech's prestigious Wine Award. Patiently taught the most difficult courses. "The best professor," one student said, "I ever had."

Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan
"Mora." Hydrology Ph.D. student. Calm, caring, talented, always ready to help. Enjoyed football games, road trips, grilling saté for the international street fair, Indonesian politics, spiritual and intellectual discussions. A radiant, contagious smile; he cemented friendships. Patient, wise, compassionate. The son, grandson, nephew, cousin, uncle, husband, and father, everyone should have.

Lauren Ashley McCain
Tribal member of the Choctaw Nation. Cared deeply about people; strived for excellence. Quirky sense of humor; bright, cheerful smile. Liked intramural soccer, flag football, running, working out, and music. Devoted to Campus Crusade for Christ and praising Jesus. Saw everyone as uniquely valuable. Loved God, family, and her friends. Hoped to travel abroad to share her faith ─ and has.

Daniel Patrick O'Neil
Scientist, artist, guitarist, composer, budding Civil and Environmental Engineer. Passionate about music, theater, and politics. Performed in dramas and variety shows. Played guitar and piano; traveled to most of Western Europe; planned to live in Dublin, Ireland. Liked running, backpacking, biking, skateboarding, and Red Sox baseball. Exceedingly loyal to his family and friends.

Juan Ramón Ortiz-Ortiz
Research and teaching assistant in Civil Engineering. Played high school basketball, baseball, track and field in his native Puerto Rico; member of the National Honor Society. Loved music and God; played timbales in church. Dedicated, patient, and responsible. Passionate about civil engineering, his wife, family, and life. Lived with integrity, perseverance and energy, as if each day were his very last.

Minal Hiralal Panchal
Strengthened her family with childlike enthusiasm, infectious laughter, a kind heart. Passionate for architecture and the built environment. Focused on goals and dedicated to challenges. Loved swimming, painting water-colors, writing poetry, and reading modern fiction. Listened to Indian Western fusion music and soft rock. Radiated love and respect to friends and family. The apple of her parents' eye.

Erin Nicole Peterson
Warm, magnetic personality, anchored by a sound moral compass. Lived joyfully and shared that joy with family and friends. Excelled in the classroom and the basketball court. Co-president of EMPOWER, an organization that builds self-esteem in young minority girls. Adored her great grandmother, called her parents daily. Left a legacy of excellence, optimism, leadership, and love.

Michael Steven Pohle, Jr
Little Mike. Innate curiosity. Seeker of knowledge. Despite adversity, shaped himself into a wonderful, caring person. Musician, football and lacrosse player, karate black-belt. An instinctive helper, avid and joyful learner in the classroom and life. Completely selfless and giving; always looked out for his classmates, his teammates, the Phillies, the Buccaneers, the Hokies, and his family, and his friends.

Julia Kathleen Pryde
Dedicated environmentalist. Explored water purity and sustainable agriculture in Peru and Ecuador. Avid swimmer, soccer and softball player. Certified wild-land firefighter deployed to fight wildfires in Arizona. Warm and accepting, open to diverse people and ideas. Embraced all challenges with enthusiasm. Always pursued a better world and a better self.

Mary Karen Read
Deeply faithful in every aspect of her life. Relished being a big sister. National Honor Society; clarinetist in the Concert Band; member of Campus Crusade for Christ. Slated to be a Bible study leader for the coming year. Loved spending time with family and friends, going to the mountains, the beach, and the lake. Always happiest helping others. A sweet personality; a beautiful, constant smile.

Reema Joseph Samaha
Exceptionally close to her parents and siblings; held lifelong friends. Traveled the Middle East; embraced her Lebanese heritage. Open, cheerful, creative, witty, but a serious student. Passionate member of the Contemporary Dance Ensemble, Hill and Veil Middle Eastern Dance Group, the Cedars of Lebanon Club, and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. A Centreville resident; a citizen of the world.

Waleed Mohamed Shaalan
Loving husband and father, from Zagazig, Egypt. Central member of the Blacksburg Muslim community, known for his friendly wave and broad smile. A dedicated and passionate student of civil engineering, following in his father’s footsteps. An academic and spiritual mentor to classmates; an older brother to many friends. “The simplest and nicest guy,” said one, “I ever knew.”

Leslie Geraldine Sherman
An inspiring young woman who could “do it all” and excel. Loved photography, historical sites, museums, reading, running. Traveled to London, Jamaica, Argentina, Ecuador, and across America. Superior student; advocate and volunteer for the Special Olympics. Student supervisor in West End Market. Immeasurable integrity, courage, and strength. A gift to all who knew her.

Maxine Shelly Turner
“Max.” Brilliant, beautiful, talented. Quirky, motivated, and ambitious. Enjoyed swing dancing, Tae Kwon Do, schoolwork, violin, and talking to herself while playing “Zelda,” her favorite video game. Fiercely independent. Helped found Tech’s first chapter of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a sorority for female engineers. Family oriented. Exceptional. Talked to her parents nearly every day.

Nicole Regina White
Beloved daughter and sister. Loved God, people, and working with children. Always giving: an EMT in Smithfield; a volunteer at the local animal shelter, and at the battered women’s center. A lifeguard and swimming instructor. Faithful member of Nansemond River Baptist Church. Dedicated to her family and friends. Always looked at other peoples’ hearts ─ not their outward appearance.