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In Memory of Professor Liviu Librescu
I had known Liviu since his early days in the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department at Virginia Tech when I was just beginning my own academic career. I had received my PhD from this department in 1981 in an area (composite materials) that at the time was at the cutting edge of high technology. In 1985 I had come back to VA Tech from the industry to continue working in this exciting area in which the ESM Department excelled world-wide. Liviu had arrived shortly thereafter with an already established reputation as a top-notch scientist. I was drawn to him because his background and life experiences during WWII and thereafter in his native Romania were similar to my parents' experiences in Poland.
Liviu was an academic in the truest sense of the word - his undergraduate and graduate students, teaching and research came first. In fact, they were his life. I am, therefore, not surprised that he continued to teach and do research at the age of 76 when most people are already retired. I am also not surprised that his first thoughts during this unthinkable tragedy were to resist and to protect the students. This was his life. Despite his slight stature, Liviu was mentally very tough and his life experience had taught him that resistance makes all the difference.
Liviu was a good friend who was there when I needed him. My heart goes out to his family, students and colleagues in the ESM Department at VA Tech who have given others so much.