Statement on Virginia Tragedy

Dear Members of the CMC Community,

A tragedy has occurred in Blacksburg, Virginia, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (“VA Tech”). A gunman took the lives of 32 members of the VA Tech community and wounded several others before taking his own life. VA Tech President Charles Steger has said, “The university was struck today with a tragedy of monumental proportions. There were two shootings on campus. In each case, there were fatalities. The university is shocked and horrified that this would befall our campus. I want to extend my deepest, sincerest and most profound sympathies to the families of these victims which include students.”

We can only begin to understand the feelings of fear, pain, loss, and even anger that members of the VA Tech community must be experiencing. Events like this are simply so exceptional that many do not know what emotions they are or should be feeling.

We understand that there will be a convocation ceremony at VA Tech at 2 P.M. today, which is 11 A.M. in Claremont. In the spirit of our appropriate support to a sister institution, CMC will observe a brief moment of silence at 11 A.M. this morning, in which you may turn your thoughts to those who died, their families, and those who survived, and to the members of the VA Tech community to will continue to teach and learn there.

Because VA Tech and CMC are both higher educational institutions, it is natural to draw some comparisons. Many people have asked, “If this happened at CMC, what would you have done?” It is probably premature to ask that question. We do not know the complete series of events that unfolded before the staff at VA Tech, and we are not privy to large pieces of information which would shape our response.

Nevertheless, many things can be learned from the tragedy in Blacksburg. Please let the community know about any potential safety threats in a timely manner, seek the most effective means of communication, and take our emergency drills very seriously so that we know what to do if there is a real emergency. I will ask those on our Emergency Management Team to consider the VA Tech tragedy and take appropriate actions to address a similar scenario at CMC. Within the community of higher educational institutions, lessons learned through disasters, like those in New Orleans with the Katrina Hurricane, are shared so that others have the opportunity to reduce the negative consequences from emergencies of all types.

In closing, be assured that we do care about what happened in Blacksburg, and we do care about you. Educational institutions like CMC are about a special community of people. We do not produce a material product, but we endeavor to enlighten one another through the best knowledge that humanity possesses and to reach a better understanding about the important questions of life and the world in which we live. Even through tragedy, we can continue to work together to learn from every experience.


Pamela Gann

(A live video stream of Virginia Tech’s Convocation at 2 p.m. is being provided at