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Remembering Paul E. Torgerson '53, '97 Ph.D. (Hon)

Lehigh alumnus Paul E. Torgerson '53, '97 Ph.D. (HON), who served both as Dean of Engineering and President of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, died on March 29 at the age of 83.

Torgerson came to Lehigh on a tennis scholarship and graduated in 1953 with a B.S. in industrial and systems engineering. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

His relationship with Virginia Tech began in 1967, joining the university as head of its Industrial Systems department in the college of engineering. He was named the Dean of Engineering three years later and supervised the success of the college over the next 20 years.

Torgerson served for eight months as Interim President in 1988 following the departure of William Edward Lavery. He was named the 14th President of Virginia Tech in 1993 and remained there for seven years.

Torgerson referred to himself as "a professor who is also serving as president," continuing to teach at least one class per semester. He remained a dedicated teacher following his presidency, teaching at least one class per year at Virginia Tech until the spring of 2014.

Following his retirement as President, both a building and bridge were named after him on campus.

Torgersen held a number of professional accomplishments, including his appointment to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Research Council (NRC). He was also a Fellow in the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and was a recipient of the Benjamin G. Lamme Meritorious Achievement Medal at Ohio State University in 1990 for his exemplary achievements in engineering.

"As a professor, a dean, and a president, Paul Torgersen has made a tremendous impact upon our institution," said Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands. "We are deeply saddened to lose him, but will always remain inspired by his legacy."

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