The Virginia Tech community and hundreds of friends from around the world recently said goodbye to Bill Lavery, the university's 12th president, who died Feb. 16.
It is fitting that he was in Blacksburg, his adopted home for the last 42 years. While he was not a graduate, there were few more passionate about Virginia Tech than Bill. (See this issue's Around the Drillfield to read about his plentiful accomplishments and accolades). Let me tell you about the man behind the achievements, however.
As we in the Blacksburg area absorbed the loss of President Lavery and spoke with many of you around the nation, we heard a common theme: "What a great guy. He was so friendly. He never spoke without a smile. He was always interested in me."
Indeed, Bill's humanity was moving. His love and concern for others was genuine, and it was legendary. Generations of Tech alumni received periodic career checkups from Lavery during and after his presidency. I know that many of you got those calls. And many alumni became de facto extensions of his large and loving family.
Bill was gregarious. He loved to laugh and to have a good time, and that was infectious and inspirational.