Charles William Steger Jr., who served as the 15th president of Virginia Tech from 2000 to 2014, died on May 6, 2018, at the age of 70. He was a distinguished architect, engineer, and educator, who led the university through a period of growth, innovation, and resilience. In this article, we will celebrate the life and achievements of Charles Steger, and share the details of his death.
A Lifelong Hokie and Leader
Charles Steger was born on June 16, 1947, in Richmond, Virginia, to Robert Dean Teague and Lisa Parcell Teague. He attended Virginia Tech, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1970, his master’s degree in architecture in 1971, and his Ph.D. in environmental sciences and engineering in 1978. He was also a member of the Corps of Cadets and the Marching Virginians.
He began his career as an instructor at Virginia Tech in 1976, and rose through the ranks to become a department head, a college dean, a vice president, and finally the president. He was the youngest dean of any college of architecture in the US, and the first Virginia Tech alumnus to serve as president. He was also the longest-serving president in the university’s history, with 14 years in office.
As president, he oversaw the expansion of Virginia Tech’s academic programs, research initiatives, and global partnerships. He established the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, the School of Public and International Affairs, and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute. He also led the university’s transition to the Atlantic Coast Conference, and launched the “Invent the Future” campaign, which raised more than $1 billion in private funding.
He also faced the biggest challenge of his presidency on April 16, 2007, when a gunman killed 32 people on campus, in the deadliest mass shooting in US history at the time. He guided the university and the community through the tragedy and its aftermath, and received praise and criticism for his handling of the crisis.
Charles Steger Cause of Death and Legacy
According to the university, Charles Steger died in his sleep on May 6, 2018, at his home in Blacksburg. A cause of death was not provided, but he had been suffering from the effects of a recent major surgery.
His death was mourned by his family, friends, colleagues, and students. Many people paid tribute to him, and expressed their admiration and gratitude. He was remembered as a visionary leader, a dedicated educator, and a loyal Hokie. He was also honored for his contributions to the state and the nation, and his impact on the world.
Charles Steger left behind a legacy of excellence and innovation that will live on in the hearts and minds of his wife of 48 years, Janet, his son, Christopher, his daughter-in-law, Laura, his grandson, William, and his extended family and friends. He also left behind a legacy of education and research that will continue to inspire and empower the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Virginia Tech, and the society at large. He was a remarkable man who touched many lives with his wisdom and generosity. He will be dearly missed and never forgotten.