April 16, 2008

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Waleed Mohamed Shaalan

    Waleed Mohamed Shaalan

Though he had a hectic schedule juggling classes, research, and teaching-assistantship responsibilities, Waleed Shaalan, age 32, always made time for the people around him. He was known for his broad smile and the friendly wave with which he greeted everyone.

Waleed came to Virginia Tech in August 2006. An international doctoral student in engineering originally from Zagazig, Egypt, he had no family members in the United States, but he quickly became an essential member of the Blacksburg Muslim community.

Shaalan initially began his Ph.D. program in Egypt, but when Virginia Tech offered him an assistantship position, he chose to continue his studies in Blacksburg. Following in the footsteps of his father, Mohamed El-Sayed Hasan Shalaan, Waleed was a dedicated and passionate student of civil engineering.

Among those mourning his death are his two roommates, Fahad Pasha and Irfan Waseem, for whom he was a loving older brother, cook, and academic and spiritual mentor. “Waleed was the simplest and nicest guy I ever knew. We would be studying for our exams and he would go buy a cake and make tea for us,” says Pasha.

Pasha was the last person to have spoken to Shaalan. “He was studying for an exam the morning of the incident. It was about 4 a.m. when I last saw and spoke to him. We were talking about how amazing it would be when he brought his wife and son to Tech at the end of the summer. I could never have imagined that in six hours he’d be gone forever.”

Waleed Shaalan left behind Amira, his wife of three years, and his 1-year-old son, Khaled.