Virgina Tech ::: Thoughts and Prayers as the Victims are Named

17 04 2007

Things will never be the same.


Yesterday, obilvious to the news, I tried calling my reps in our Virgina facility – I needed somone to place a sales call to a customer to place an order.

Line busy.

I tried again, busy.  After a few failed attempts I got through.   I gave my message and instructions to the correct party, and asked why the line was busy.

“Didn’t you hear?  Lines have been jamed with VAtech students trying to call out and say their ok”

“Ok?  Ok from what?”

“The worst school masacare in history” . . . . . .


Normally I like to mark these types of events with a reccollection of “where were you when” – but I don’t know where I was . . . . .  .

 My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims, and to each and every Virgina Tech student.



  • Ross Abdallah Alameddine, 20, a sophomore (second year) student of Saugus, Massachusetts. Family friend Bob Palumbo said Ross was an English major who was attending a French class when he was shot. A memorial page on Facebook described him as “an intelligent, funny, easy-going guy”. He had been studying at the university since 2005.
  • Brian Roy Bluhm, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who was undertaking a civil engineering Master’s in water resources. He was a student since spring 2005 and his death was announced before the Detroit-Kansas City baseball game.
  • Ryan Christopher Clark, 22, of Martinez, Georgia, a senior psychology student. A coroner in Georgia said the student was shot in the neck, the Roanoke Times, a Virginia newspaper, reported. He was a student since Autumn 2002 and a member of the Marching Virginians band.
  • Austin Michelle Cloyd, of Blacksburg, Virginia, a sophomore on an international studies honours programme, who wanted to be a US ambassador.
  • Matthew Gregory Gwaltney, of Chesterfield, Virginia, a master’s student studying environmental engineering and a graduate student since Autumn 2005.
  • Caitlin Miller Hammaren, 19, of Westtown, New York, was a sophomore international studies student who had been at the university since Autumn 2005.
  • Jeremy Michael Herbstritt, 27, of Blacksburg, Virginia, a civil engineering master’s student. He joined the university in Autumn 2006. His father is employed by Penn State University.
  • Emily Jane Hilscher, a 19-year-old freshman (first year) student from Woodville, Virginia, who was studying animal and poultry sciences. A tribute from one friend on the website said: “She was so filled with life and always had something wonderful to say or was always making me smile.” She joined the university in autumn 2006.
  • Jarrett Lee Lane, a senior student from Narrows, Virginia, studying civil engineering. He was a student since Autumn 2003.
  • Matthew Joseph La Porte, 20, from Dumont, New Jersey, a sophomore university studies student, who was at the university since Autumn 2005.
  • Henry J Lee, a sophomore computer engineering student from Roanoke, Virginia. He was a student since Autumn 2006.
  • Professor Liviu Librescu, 76, an engineering science and mathematics lecturer. An Israeli of Romanian descent, Prof Librescu was renowned internationally for his research in aeronautical engineering. He moved to Virginia in 1985. He is said to have blocked the door to the gunman and told his students to flee.
  • Partahi Mamora Halomoan Lumbantoruan, 34, of Indonesia, a civil engineering doctorate student since Autumn 2003.
  • Lauren Ashley McCain, 20, from Hampton, Virginia, a freshman international studies student since Autumn 2006.
  • Daniel Patrick O’Neil, 22, of Lincoln, Rhode Island. He was a master’s student in environmental engineering since Autumn 2006.
  • Juan Ramon Ortiz-Ortiz, 26, from Blacksburg, Virginia, a married master’s civil engineering student, since Autumn 2006.
  • Minal Hiralal Panchal, 26, a master’s architecture student since Autumn 2006, from Mumbai, India.
  • Daniel Alejandro Perez, of Woodbridge, Virginia, a sophomore international studies student since summer 2006.
  • Michael Steven Pohle Jr, 23, of Flemington, New Jersey. He was a graduate of Hunterdon Central high school. He was a senior biological sciences student and had been at the university since Autumn 2002.
  • Julia Kathleen Pryde, a Master’s student in biological systems engineering from Blacksburg, Virginia, since summer 2006.
  • Mary Karen Read, 19, of Annandale, Virginia, was an interdisciplinary studies freshman since Autumn 2006. Mary was killed during a French class, her aunt, Karen Kuppinger, of Rochester, New York, said. “She was a beautiful girl, very caring and loving,” her uncle, Ted Kuppinger, told a local newspaper.
  • Reema Joseph Samaha, 18, a freshman from Centreville, Virginia since Autumn 2006 and a member of the Contemporary Dance Ensemble.
  • Waleed Mohamed Shaalan, of Blacksburg, Virginia, originally from Egypt and a doctorate civil engineering student since Autumn 2006.

Another nine victims have been identified, but they have yet to be added to the university’s list of those confirmed dead.

  • They include Professor Kevin Granata who researched muscle and reflex response and robotics. The head of engineering science and the mechanics department at the college, Professor Ishwar Puri, called him one of the top five biomechanics researchers in the country working on movement dynamics in cerebral palsy.
  • Christopher James Bishop, 35, an instructor of German, was confirmed dead by colleagues. The Roanoke Times said he wore his hair long, rode his bike to campus, and worked alongside his wife in the college’s foreign languages department. He helped to run an exchange programme at Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany.
  • Jocelyne Couture-Nowak, a French language professor. Her husband was Jerzy Nowak, the head of the horticulture department at Virginia Tech.
  • Perez Cueva, 21, was a native of Peru, studying international relations. He was killed while in a French class, said his mother, Betty Cueva, the Washington Post reported.
  • Professor Kevin Granata, an expert in engineering science and mechanics. He conducted orthopaedic research in hospitals before joining the university. Mr Granata was one of the top five biomechanics researchers in the US and a cerebral palsy expert.
  • Rachael Hill, 18, of Glen Allen, Virginia. Her father, Guy Hill, confirmed she was killed.
  • Professor GV Longanathan, 51, a lecturer at the Virginia Tech department of civil and environmental engineering. Prof Loganathan, who was born in the southern Indian city of Chennai, had been at Virginia Tech since 1982. He lived in the US with his wife. His brother GV Palanivel said: “For us it was like an electric shock. We’ve totally collapsed today. Our parents are elderly and have broken down completely.”
  • Leslie Sherman, a second year student studying history and international studies.
  • Maxine Turner, a final year student studying chemical engineering, was described in a web tribute as: “Just an absolutely amazing, intelligent woman”.
  • Nicole White, 20, was studying international studies and German.

The Guardian   The Guardian

Collegiate Times Confirmed List of the Deceased




6 responses

31 12 2007


31 12 2007


13 02 2009

Leslie Geraldine Sherman is the extremely distant cousin of the police chief from Moffat County!

24 05 2009

Matthew Gregory Gwaltney is a direct descendant of Welsh immigrant Thomas Gwaltney!

2 06 2010

Gwaltney is part Jerriais due to his mother’s maiden name, Poindexter. Matthew Gwaltney’s ancestors came from the UK and Bailiwick of Jersey. Jersey is not part of the UK.

31 07 2010

Believe it or not, Matthew Gwaltney is the distant cousin of General George Armstrong Custer!

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