BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Virginia Tech's president, Charles Steger, is stepping down.
Steger announced his plans to retire in an email to students, faculty and staff on Tuesday (see below). Steger says he'll remain on the job until his replacement is found.
Steger has been president since 2000.
He led the school during the 2007 mass shootings in which a student gunman killed 32 students and faculty before shooting himself. Some victims and parents blamed Steger for not warning campus sooner that the gunman had killed two students in a dorm room. The alert moved two hours later, as the gunman chained shut the doors to a classroom building where the other 30 were killed.
The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in June that Steger should be put on trial for his actions.
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Letter from Charles Steger to students:
Date: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Subject: Special Message from President Steger
When one is totally absorbed in doing what one loves, fourteen years pass in an instant. Serving as president of this great university has been the most demanding and yet the most exhilarating and fulfilling experience of my life--from the exuberance at the beginning of the fall semester to the elation at commencement and every single day in between.
Each day, I am inspired and awed by your talent, creativity, and brilliance. You have embraced Ut Prosim and the Principles of Community. You set an example for the faculty, staff, and alumni with your solid commitment to service and strong spirit of community, which sets Virginia Tech apart.
I am thankful as well for our tremendous faculty and staff. Because of them, Virginia Tech is thriving despite the economic challenges that we continue to face. Together, we now have achieved most of the goals that I set out during my inauguration speech in 2000, and we also have seized opportunities as they arose to advance the strategic goals of the university. At all times, we have been guided by the overarching goal to provide our students with the highest quality educational experience--to awaken you to new opportunities and help you to discover your passion in life and acquire the skills and competencies to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
Today, I write to share with you my plans to step down as the 15th president of Virginia Tech. The Board of Visitors is beginning the search process, and I am confident that with the fine caliber of leadership on the board, they will select an individual well-suited to our unique organization. I will continue to serve as president until my successor begins work.
Years ago, I left a career in the private sector to pursue my passion for teaching and profound belief in the transformative power of education. This university and most importantly you--our students--have been my passion for more than four decades, and I have great optimism for the future. Virginia Tech is one of the nation's top universities and has a growing international reputation. The promise of this university eclipses all the challenges.
My wish for you is that when you graduate, you will have found your passion in life and that you will dare to pursue it. I have had that extraordinary opportunity. It has been an honor and a privilege to lead this dynamic university as its president.
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