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Apr-17-2007 13:08printcomments

Memorial Fund Established in Wake of Virginia Tech Massacre

32 individuals lost their lives, and 15 were injured in the worst mass shooting rampage ever in the U.S.

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(BLACKSBURG, Va.) - To our Virginia Tech alumni, I write the kind of message I never expected to have to write in my entire career serving the university.

On Monday, the 16th of April, a campus resident senior student shot two students in Ambler Johnston residence hall and proceeded shortly thereafter to the other side of the Drillfield, entered Norris Hall and randomly shot more than 40 students and faculty in several classrooms.

He then turned his gun on himself and took his own life.

As I write this, 32 students and faculty who were among his victims have died. Others remain hospitalized. An ongoing investigation will answer so many facts and questions still unknown at this time.

This is the most horrific scene in the history of this or any university. Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the victims.

Our hearts go out to the friends, classmates and others who witnessed this tragedy.

A Memorial Convocation is scheduled today (Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 PM Eastern Time) and will be nationally televised. President and Mrs. George W. Bush are expected to attend, along with Virginia Governor and Mrs. Tim Kaine and other dignitaries.

This is a shocking crime with crime scenes that have attracted national and international press, all broadcasting their live news shows from the Holtzman Alumni Center.

President Charles Steger, himself an alumnus, has personally expressed with utmost compassion his condolences to the families who have been notified and are still being notified. His leadership through this tragedy has been extraordinary.

All of us at the university wish to demonstrate our compassion especially to our students who have experienced a kind of horror and tragedy that hopefully they never will again. We share in their deepest sorrow and grief.

Other universities and institutions across the country, and indeed around the world, have communicated with us to express their shock and sympathy.

Many of our alumni have communicated with us and also with each other to share expressions of support as well as their personal grief.

I am confident that Virginia Tech will heal from this in whatever time it may take, and will do so because of its strong support from a family of caring alumni numbering over 200,000, including our current students and all their families.

The faculty, staff and entire surrounding community are committed to helping our students and faculty recover from this terrible, terrible event. Those who will follow them will continue to embrace the true meaning of our motto “That I May Serve,” that bonds the entire Hokie Nation.

The Alumni Association placed a single wreath in the Campus Chapel within hours of the tragedy, and the Corps of Cadets has posted an honor guard with it to symbolize a university honoring those it has lost so tragically.

It is but one symbol of the enormous grief that an entire campus and family of alumni around the world must bear.

Many have asked how they may send financial memorials.

Any memorial gifts, payable to the “Virginia Tech Foundation,” designated specifically for the “Virginia Tech Family Fund,” should be mailed to University Development, 902 Prices Fork Road (0336), Blacksburg, VA 24061.

Thank you for your genuine concern and expressions of support for all of us at the university. And please keep those who lost their lives and their grieving families in your thoughts and prayers.
Tom Tillar
Vice President for Alumni Relations

April 16th, 2007, will be remembered as one of the darkest days in the history of the Virginia Tech community and the world beyond.

To remember and honor the victims of those tragic events, the university has established the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund to aid in the healing process and generate financial support.

The fund will be used to cover expenses including but not limited to:

  • Grief counseling
  • Memorials
  • Communication expenses
  • Comfort expenses
  • Incidental needs

In the wake of this tragedy, we are confident that Hokie Spirit will only grow stronger and more resilient. We thank you for your continued support.

To donate visit:


This only includes victims which have so far been specifically cited in the media.

First Shooting, West Ambler Johnston Hall Dormitory:

Emily J. Hilscher, 18, a freshman from Woodville in Rappahannock County, Virginia, who was ID'd by other students as the murderer's ex-girlfriend.

Ryan C. Clark, 22, a senior from Augusta, Georgia. A resident adviser at the West Ambler Johnston Hall Dormitory, he was killed in the dormitory as he rushed over to investigate what was going on when he came upon the gunman, according to a student who lives on the fourth floor, where the first shootings took place.

Second Shooting, Norris Hall Engineering Building:

Henry Lee, a freshman in Computer Engineering;
Maxine Turner, a senior in Chemical Engineering;
Matt La Porte, a freshman;
Juan Ortiz, a graduate student;
Jarrett Lane, a senior;
Leslie Sherman, a sophomore;
Caitlin Hammaren, a sophomore;
Reema Samaha, a freshman;
Ross Alameddine, a student from Saugus, Massachusetts;
Mary Read, a freshman;
Instructor Christopher J. Bishop, killed while teaching a German class;
Professor G. V. Loganathan;
Professor Liviu Librescu, killed while holding off the gunman so his students could escape;
Professor Kevin Granata.

See the other reports on the Virginia Tech school shooting:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Another cookie May 1, 2007 6:12 am (Pacific time)

Cookie may be a little harsh with they way he/she put it but there are a lot of people who are skeptical of all the money. I can only imagine the large sums of money this is generating and how much is really necessary. Though these families have had an enormous lost do they need money to make them feel "supported"? VA Tech has an enormous budget. There's no reason they can provide for whatever the need is. Although this tragedy is huge, a day after we lost 9 young men in Iraq. Where's the memorial fund for their families? A few days later 72 men were killed in Ethiopia. I agree the families need to know they are supported but how much is enough?

Hank Ruark April 19, 2007 8:02 am (Pacific time)

To all: From "communications" standpoint this is classic for NON-com... Happens F-Cookie just about right on, others misunderstood his stance and statement...but again we see dialog distinctly moving all towards solid sense on common learnings... Gotta admit that's surely encouraging, given some of the self-seeking stuff we still seeing herein !!

justamominnj April 18, 2007 3:26 pm (Pacific time)

my young daughter, 8, asked to start up a collection at her school to then send to the families that have lost someone they loved during this horrific tragedy, if they wish to create an actual monument to be dedicated to those who died or for possibly starting up an organization that works hard to make sure this never happens again to other families, i would offer my help in any way possible..if the pennies she receives in her water jug is only enough to put flowers near a special place for each of those lost so be it.. sometimes even in this world today, its the thought that truly counts and in the mind of my daughter who so desperately wants to help this is her way and i am proud of her.. my daughters ages 11 and 8 have a few years till they are off on their own, but at this stage I'm terrified for them yet we have to give our children wings and let them fly.. my heart goes out to all of these people, the ones or are gone and the ones they have left behind..

Fortune Cookie April 18, 2007 3:17 pm (Pacific time)

Dr. Kildare, Even if I was a sociopath it would not make what I am saying any the less true. I have had to work with lawyers in various situations and nothing is that easy as you may wish to believe. The bottom line becomes a legal one and emotions have to be put aside as hard as that is and as much time as that takes. A friend of mine died young and suddenly, another friend started a "Fund" for his teen aged kids. I jumped in with a check and now that I look back, I am sorry that I did. The money did little to help anyone. The death was an unexpected tragedy but the responsibility rested with government agencies. The gesture of the Fund was one of good will and memorial. Now that it is all over, I am sorry that I participated to the "extent" "only" that I did.

Dr. Kildare April 18, 2007 1:32 pm (Pacific time)

Cookie, you a sociopath?

Fortune Cookie April 17, 2007 7:00 pm (Pacific time)

You have no idea who and how I have lost. The only point I will make is that if Federal and State money was not so mismanaged, sent over seas and also misappropriated, people should be able to go to social services, Catholic Charities, but mostly to government agencies. But in this country our money goes all over the world and for corporate know the deal. I hope the people really get money that they need. I am sure that the University will be sued, there are insurance policies on the adults. The dead students actually cost the families money and they will probably get a tuition refund. Memorials are B.S. The terms used raise an eyebrow. These are not Tsunami victims that need food or shelter. I trust no one when it comes to money. I have caught too many people with their hands in the cookie jar...people I would have never expected. It just does not make sense. Again, there must be insurance in place to take care of future income for the adults survivors. I am sorry for the families but am sure they will get the University to cover burial expenses or cremation. As long as everyone has shelter, food, a loved one, counseling is the most important thing for people to get. I am just not sure if the College will not provide this. Trust me, the lawsuits are gonna fly. The families have to prove negligence. Although the school is not responsible for the criminal activiy of a student, proper litigation and the climate of sympathy will probably take care of them. I appreciate the fact that you are sensitive enough to create something, I just know that this is a gut reaction and the realites of need will surface slowly. I have been aroung alot of death and the legal implications even assault with a deadly weapon at a work site. I escorted the survivor to a good lawyer. The survivor must prove that the danger was known before the incident of at the worksite. This will probably be proven in this case. My opinion can not change what is in people's hearts. Anyone is free to contribute or not. I hope you have consulted with an attorney before doing this. The fiduciary implications are enormous and complicated.

Kansas April 17, 2007 4:53 pm (Pacific time)

What an insensitive bastard! I bet you've never lost someone dear to you... learn to give a darn, buddy. I'm glad we've started this fund - families of victims need to know they are supported!

Fortune Cookie April 17, 2007 1:49 pm (Pacific time)

Great! Another 9/11 fund! Where there is money there are sticky fingers.

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