From Virginia Tech: Paul Torgersen, Virginia Tech’s president from 1994-2000 and a member of its faculty since 1967, died Sunday at age 83. “As a professor, a dean, and a president, Paul Torgersen has made a tremendous impact upon our institution,” Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands said. “We are deeply saddened to lose him, but will always remain inspired by his legacy.” The Virginia flag outside the university’s main administrative building, Burruss Hall, was lowered to half-mast in memory of Torgersen. The university’s governing Board of Visitors observed a moment of silence in his honor during its March 30 meeting.
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Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said Torgersen was “a dedicated educator and public servant who helped make Virginia Tech the world-class institution it is today. He will be dearly missed, particularly by the Virginians whose lives are better because of his outstanding service.”
Virginia Tech made major headway in its national profile in academics and in athletics during Torgersen’s presidency. During that time, the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine received full accreditation and U.S. News & World Report ranked the engineering and business colleges among the nation’s top 50. During Torgersen’s time as dean of the College of Engineering, it emerged from the bottom 10 percent in rankings for research to join the top 10 percent.
Torgersen’s tenure as president saw a dramatic increase in the effectiveness of fundraising for the university, including $337 million raised in The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Making a World of Difference. In addition, the university’s endowment nearly doubled.