BLACKSBURG, Va., May 3, 2007 – Herman J. Saatkamp, president of Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, announced May 2 at the college's Board of Trustees’ meeting three significant gifts to support its Holocaust Resource Center. The gifts include a $250,000 donation from The Azeez Foundation of Egg Harbor Township, to name a room in the Center honoring the memory of Virginia Tech Professor Liviu Librescu.
Librescu, 76, was a Holocaust survivor and professor at Virginia Tech who sacrificed his life and saved the lives of his students during the recent tragic events on the Blacksburg campus. Without hesitation or regard for personal safety, Professor Librescu blocked the door of his classroom as the shooter attempted to enter. He held off the gunman as his students escaped through the windows. The Israeli, who was a professor of engineering, was shot to death, “but all the students lived, because of him,” said Virginia Tech student Asael Arad.
Jane B. Stark, who represents Michael Azeez and the Azeez Foundation, said that Professor Librescu’s actions represent the resilient human spirit and were a beacon of hope in the face of unspeakable tragedy. “This man, who endured so much during the Holocaust, thought of his students’ safety before his own in a time of crisis,” she said. “He deserves to be remembered for these heroic actions.”
Christian Fry of the New Jersey Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association said he was gratified to hear of the gift. “I think it is a wonderful thing that Stockton is doing,” he said. “I can’t think of a more fitting memorial.”
The gifts announced total $850,000, the largest in the school's history. They also include a $500,000 gift from the Leo B. Schoffer family that will name Stockton’s Holocaust Resource Center in honor of Leo Schoffer’s parents. A third gift of $100,000 was donated by Jack Koopman of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, who has been a strong benefactor of the college’s program in Holocaust studies.