Virginia Tech President Emeritus Charles Steger Has Passed Away

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Charles Steger Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech President Emeritus Charles Steger, 1947-2018 (photo courtesy Virginia Tech)

The Virginia Tech community is sad to learn of the passing of President Emeritus Charles Steger, who died at his home in Blacksburg Sunday night, May 6, 2018.

Steger was president of Virginia Tech for 14 years, from 2000-2014, and he grew the university in numerous ways, while shepherding it through difficult state budget cuts and the April 16, 2007 tragedy.

Steger’s focus as president was to grow Virginia Tech as a research university and to expand the university’s educational offerings, most notably by creating the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, which graduated its first class in 2014 and will become Virginia Tech’s ninth college this July 1.

In his Founder’s Day installation speech back in 2000, Steger stated an ambitious goal: to make Virginia Tech a top 30 research institution by 2010. At that point in time (FY2000 – rankings here), Virginia Tech was ranked No. 51 in the nation in R&D expenditures, with $192.7 million spent on research.

While Virginia Tech did not reach the top 30 by 2010, the university’s research expenditures nonetheless boomed under Steger. By FY 2014 (rankings here), Virginia Tech’s research expenditures had risen to No. 39 with $513.1 million, a staggering increase in just 14 years.

During that time, due partly to drastic cuts in state funding, tuition and fees at Virginia Tech skyrocketed. In 2000-01, in-state tuition and fees were $3,604. By 2014-15, the first year after Steger’s retirement, in-state tuition and fees had more than tripled, to $12,017 per year.

Steger earned three Virginia Tech degrees: a bachelor’s degree in 1970 and a master’s degree in 1971, both in architecture; and a Ph.D. in environmental sciences and engineering in 1978. He spent nearly his entire professional career at Virginia Tech in various capacities.

A full recounting of Steger’s career and all that he accomplished at Virginia Tech can be found in this in memoriam statement from Virginia Tech.

Steger is survived by his wife of 48 years, Janet; a son, Christopher Baird Steger, and wife, Elizabeth Jeanne Schumann; and a son, David Charles Steger, and fiancée, Alison Nemeth. Steger is also survived by a brother, Keith G. Steger, and wife, Teresa, and their son, Aaron Steger; a sister, Linda McGrath, and husband, Michael, and their daughter, Andrea; and a sister, Jennifer Layton, and husband, Jim; and a brother-in-law, John Baird, and wife, Wendy Wark, and their three children.

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  1. I remember one day around 2012, while returning from a football game, I stopped to have dinner at an informal little Italian restaurant in Dillwyn. President Steger was seated at the table adjacent to mine and we had the best conversation. He insisted that I call him Charlie. What a down to earth, nice guy. RIP, Charlie Steger! Hokie Hi!

  2. So appreciate the steady and effective leadership that Dr. Steiger provided Virginia Tech during both some exciting and sad times. From an athletics perspective, his efforts in helping to orchestrate our move into the ACC will always be part of his outstanding legacy. God Bless You, Dr. Steiger! And prayers to your wife and family.

  3. Will wrote a piece about Jim Weaver a bit ago and in it he mentioned something to the affect “right guy at the right time”, that he was what VT and the Athletics Department needed. We Hokies are fortunate indeed as a members of this storied institution, that we always seem to have the right guy at the right time. Hokies always seem to find the courage and conviction to rise to the occasion. There are numerous “Ut Prosim” examples just like Charles Steger. When Virginia Tech needed a resolute leader and institutional compass, he stepped up. Thank you Dr. Steger, your contributions and impact will be felt for generations.

    “I don’t know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them. Go Virginia Tech.”…Lee Corso

  4. RIP, Dr. Steger! I’ll always remember you as a compassionate and encouraging educator. A great loss to the Hokie Nation.

  5. Any indication of why? Accident, disease?

    That’s scary for me. We are the same age, and were in the same Class of ’69.

      1. Opposite for me…I was class of ’69, but graduated 1970. Back then they only had one graduation a year, and I had to go to summer school after graduation 1969. Needed a course called Public Finance to graduate, and I had a helluva time passing it. It was actually a graduate level course, but was required
        for my Public Administration degree. As a matter of fact Dr. Humboldt, dean of the business school, substituted one of my poly sci courses to qualify me for my degree. I almost had enough Political Science courses to get a degree there.

        I think I also dated Dr. Steger’s sister Linda a couple of times.

        God bless Dr. Steger’s family. Good man. Served the University well.

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