Jeremy Herbstritt

Jeremy Herbstritt

Hometown: Bellefonte, Pa.

Age: 27

Class: Graduate Student

Major: Civil Engineering

Related Links: Bellefonte grad killed in Virginia Tech shootings (CentreDaily.com, April 17, 2007)

Local Student Killed In Va. Tech Shooting Rampage; Hear From His Grandparents, (WJAC6, April 17, 2007)

Profile: Jeremy Herbstritt, 27, of Bellefonte, Pa., received several academic scholarships and earned two undergraduate degrees from Pennsylvania State University before enrolling at Virginia Tech last fall as a graduate student, according to a Penn State spokesman. Family friends said the tall, lanky young man was a devout Catholic, a cross-country runner and a civil engineering student who wanted to pursue an environmental career.

On Monday, Herbstritt's parents were notified that he was killed at Norris Hall. His father, Michael, who works as an engineer at Penn State's Office of Physical Plant, and his mother, Margaret, were in Boston watching their daughter run the Boston Marathon, according to Penn State spokesman Geoff Rushton.

Jeremy Herbstritt earned his first undergraduate degree in 2003 with a dual major in biochemistry and molecular biology. He earned another bachelor's of science degree in civil engineering in 2006, graduating with distinction, Rushton said.

The personable young man had other distinctions as well.

According to his high school yearbook, he was voted "most talkative guy" in his senior class when he graduated from Bellefonte Area High School in 1998, according to Principal Ann Hutcheson. "Talkie-talkie, everybody likes to talk," noted his yearbook entry. "Or at least Jeremy Herbstritt and Denise Ritter do. Their mile-a-minute mouths wear out the ears of their classmates." Herbstritt also ran cross-country in high school and later ran the Boston Marathon, she said.

Herbstritt and other family members often ran in Bellefonte, a close-knit rural community near Penn State, according to Mike Shuey, whose family lives across the street and whose son used to play basketball with Jeremy.

Herbstritt and his family were active in their parish, and Jeremy frequently attended Mass when he was home on break and on vacation, according to Pam Vaiana, a family friend and principal of St. John the Evangelist Catholic School, which Jeremy and his three younger siblings attended.

"He was a thoughtful kid," she said. "He lived his faith."

Yesterday, Vaiana retrieved his elementary school photo.

"His smile filled his face," Vaiana said. "He was a really good kid. I talk to my children about drugs and alcohol, but these outside things you can't control, and they just rip your heart out."

-- Lena H. Sun, The Washington Post


© 2007 The Washington Post Company