On 16th April, 2007, Liviu Librescu, a 76 year old professor of engineering, saved the lives of 22 students by holding the door of his classroom shut, while a gunman was shooting through the door.1 Librescu managed to hold the door shut, while all but one student managed to escape through classroom windows, and to safety. During this ordeal, Liviu Librescu was shot multiple times, yet continued to hold the door to ensure the safe passage of his students through windows. The Great American hero was shot 4 times on his body and a final 5th time to his head, resulting in his demise. By that time, 22 of his 23 students had escaped. Librescu and another student were the only casualties in that particular classroom.
A man of great eminence
Liviu Librescu received various honors throughout his life, and many after. Mentioned within are some of his most distinguished honors and recognitions:
- Librescu received the Doctor Honoris Causa by The Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest
- Received The Frank J. Maher Award for exemplary achievements in engineering
- A street was renamed after Liviu Librescu in his home country, Romania
- The professor was also honored by The Facilitator Award by Stetson University College
- He was also awarded Romania’s highest civilian award, The Order of the Star of Romania, to mark his spectacular bravery and heroism.
Minal Hiralal Panchal
Minal Panchal, was the only unfortunate student of Professor Librescu that could not save her life. She was of Indian origin, born in the city of Mumbai. She moved to America and was enrolled in the M.Sc program in architecture at Virginia Tech. Minal was one of 32 people killed in the Virginia Tech mass shooting.
The university has since created various memorial funds in honor of the victims of the mass shooting. Some of the funds created are: Austin Michelle Cloyd Honors Scholarship, Matthew Gregory Gwaltney Memorial Fund, Jeremy Michael Herbstritt Memorial Fund, Nicole White Memorial Fund, among others.
Seung-Hui Cho was the South-Korean born shooter that undertook the Virginia Tech shootings. Cho, a previous sufferer of depression, reportedly exercised the shootings after a romantic fallout with one the students. After Cho exercised the killings, he committed suicide. In a manifesto sent to NBC, Seung-Hui Cho mentioned that he despised the wealthy.