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|14th President of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University|
|Term||1993 – 2000|
|Predecessor||James D. McComas|
|Successor||Charles W. Steger|
October 13, 1931 |
Staten Island, New York
|Alma mater||Lehigh University
Ohio State University
Paul Ernest Torgersen, Ph.D (born October 13, 1931) was the 14th President of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Torgersen came to Virginia Tech as a professor and the head of the Department of Industrial Engineering. In 1970, he was appointed dean of the College of Engineering, a post he held for over 20 years. He led the College of Engineering to its place of national distinction – being ranked 17th in the nation among public and private institutions – and then served as president of the Corporate Research Center. He was also interim vice president for development and university relations. He was named president of Tech in the Fall of 1993 and served until January 2000. He has taught at least one three-hour course each semester for the past 43 years.
Torgersen is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the American Society of Engineering Education. In 2001 he received the Institute’s highest recognition – the Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Award and earlier, in 1991, had received ASEE’s Lamme Medal. He received Tech’s first Affirmative Action Award, its 1992 Sporn Award for Teaching Excellence and was named Virginia’s Engineering Educator of the Year in 1992.
He served from 1979-81 as chairman of the engineering Deans’ Council (the national organization of engineering deans).
In 1986 he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and more recently to the governing board of that same organization.
Dr. Torgersen has authored or co-authored five books – two translated into Japanese.
With graduate degrees from Ohio State University, he also received the Benjamin G. Lamme Meritorious Achievement Medal from that same institution in 1990. With an undergraduate degree from Lehigh University he received an honorary Doctor of Engineering from Lehigh in 1997.
In Spring 1990, at the conclusion of his 20-year tenure as dean, engineering alumni awarded him and his wife a one-week vacation with tickets each day to the tennis finals at Wimbledon. Engineering faculty awarded his wife a one-week vacation in the Caribbean “with the engineering professor of her choice.”
During his terms as dean and as president, 62,191 diplomas presented to Virginia Tech graduates were signed by Paul E. Torgersen.
On October 6, 2000, with the completion of the 28-million-dollar Communications and Information Technology facility, a dedication was held and the building was named Paul E. Torgersen Hall.
Dr. Torgersen gave his final lecture on 7 May 2014 to his Theory of Organization class.
James Douglas McComas
|Virginia Tech president
1993 – 2000
Charles W. Steger
2000 – 2014