Our colleague and Director, Dr Charles Steger, passed away on May 6, 2018 at his home. Dr Steger was appointed President of the University in 2000 and served in that capacity until retirement in 2014. At the time of his appointment President Steger was the youngest President to serve in that capacity at the University.
Prior to his appointment as President, he had served as Dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Vice-Provost for Outreach, and Vice-President of Development at the university. Under his leadership as President, the university became a comprehensive university with an enrollment of 31,000. With his guidance, the university increased graduate enrollment by 12 percent; expanded its research to the point where it was within the top thirty research universities as measured by the National Science Foundation; added a school of biomedical engineering, created a new medical school in conjunction with the Carillon Health System; and became a global university with new and expanded facilities in Switzerland and India, and added a new large research facility in the Washington, D.C. region.
Upon leaving the presidency he assumed the Directorship of the Global Forum for Urban and Regional Resilience, a unit created during his time as President in response to the University’s strategic plan. His vision for the Forum was for it to be locus of discussion surrounding the role of universities’ curricula and research agendas, with a focus on key global strategic issues such as the interdependencies among critical environmental, social, economic and political infrastructures in nations, regions, cities, and communities.
In addition to facilitating global discussions on issues the Forum supported trans-disciplinary research on the important aspects of resiliency, and translated that knowledge to action by producing scholarship on critical issues, by organizing workshops, and by creating knowledge platforms on key topics that helped shape strategic directions for communities over the next decade. In additional to his role as Director, President Steger led the Forum’s initiates on physical infrastructure resilience and worked to develop close research collaborations with groups on campus and internationally on research themes that would advance our understanding of resilience, its values and ethics, its financial dimensions, and the policy approaches best suited for communities. He served tirelessly on a number of boards for profit and nonprofits organizations and for various state agencies, all for the purpose of advancing the welfare and resilience of the Commonwealth of Virginia and its citizens. The Forum will remain his legacy as it moves forward maintaining its core mission and advancing its research in its three thematic areas – financial resilience, resilient infrastructure, and the socio-political dimensions of resilience.