The 21-person steering committee charged with the overall planning of on-campus activities to be held on April 16, 2008, has established the preliminary schedule of public events to be held on the Virginia Tech campus that day.

Further details on all events will be announced on the “April 16, 2008: A Day of Remembrance” website as plans develop. This website,, will be linked to the university homepage and will become live during the week of Feb. 25.

Two primary events will be held that day:

  • From 10:30 a.m. to noon, a university-wide commemoration event will be held on the Drillfield, rain or shine. During this event, the names of the 32 students and faculty who lost their lives that day as well as a few words about the special qualities of each person will be read aloud. Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger will welcome those assembled.
  • At sundown (approximately 7:45 p.m.), a candlelight vigil will be held on the Drillfield (rain or shine). The event, organized by Virginia Tech students, will begin using a ceremonial candle at the university memorial site that will burn during the entire day.

In addition, during the afternoon, the university will provide venues across campus where individuals or groups who may wish express or witness remembrances in the form of poetry or other readings; writing; musical or artistic performances; art creation; flower planting; or other activities including service activities. Further information will be announced on the university website as events are scheduled.

In January 2008, Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger established a steering committee to guide the on-campus activities to be held on April 16, 2008. The committee included students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members, plus students and family members directly affected by the events. Provost Mark McNamee served as committee chair and Jay Poole, director of the Office of Recovery and Support, served as vice-chair.

“The committee met three times and openly discussed a range of ideas for the official university observances of the April 16, 2007 tragedy,” said McNamee. “The committee received input from the community, and benefited greatly from the advice and support of the affected families and students.

“Several major decisions emerged by consensus from the committee’s deliberations,” said McNamee. “April 16, 2008, will focus on the lives of the 32 innocent students and faculty members who were killed on April 16, 2007; events will be simple and respectful; and opportunities will be provided for anyone from the Virginia Tech community who wishes to honor the memories of the victims.”

Virginia Tech will not hold classes on April 16, 2008, but the university will be open. Faculty and staff will be permitted to participate in any university activities they may wish to.

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