Charles Steger, PhD, led one of the longest and most impactful terms as the 15th president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia. He created interdisciplinary institutes, grew the research portfolio by 250 percent, and concluded a fundraising campaign that exceeded $1 billion. Dr. Steger also began a partnership with Carilion Clinic that led to the creation of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, forming the fifth medical school in Virginia.
Dr. Steger died Sunday, May 6 at his home in Blacksburg at the age of 70.
He once noted that his career revolved around creating environments that push the frontiers of knowledge. This was true throughout his term at Virginia Tech as well as with his involvement with the Foundation. When he joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2016, Dr. Steger remarked, “At this stage in my life and career, I want to dedicate my time to making a difference in improving the human condition. I can think of no better use of my life energy than to be involved with the Foundation advancing development of focused ultrasound.”
“No one has been a greater champion for focused ultrasound technology or a more effective Board member than Charles,” said Foundation chairman, Neal F. Kassell, MD. “His dedication to fostering the intersection of education and innovation was apparent during his exemplary career and in his advocacy for the Foundation. He will be impossible to replace.”
To honor Dr. Steger’s passions for education and focused ultrasound, the Foundation has named its internship program in his memory. The Charles Steger Focused Ultrasound Internship Program will encompass the Foundation’s local and global internship programs. Integral to the Foundation’s mission, these internships are designed to foster interest in focused ultrasound technology among the next generation of researchers. Each year, the Foundation hosts student interns at its offices in Charlottesville, Virginia, to complete a variety of projects. Additionally, up to 20 global interns receive funding from the Foundation to work alongside experts in the field at institutions around the world.
At the time of his passing, Dr. Steger was advising on the Foundation’s establishment of a veterinary program. The first clinical trial funded by that program began last month at Virginia Tech.
On May 14, a memorial service was held at Virginia Tech, and the recording is available online. See also Virginia Tech’s obituary.