Ross Abdallah Alameddine
Hometown: Saugus, Mass.
Major: English, French, Business Information Technology
Profile: He was "Rossmo" to his friends, a kid with a subversive sense of humor and an intellect that produced a memorable take on everything from iPods to "The Big Lebowski."
"My bro's a spunky, too smart-for-his-own-good, awesome guy," his sister Yvonne wrote as part of a series of memorials on Facebook. "SO much life was left and it's totally insane anything could happen like this. . . . 25,000 kids at the school."
She declined to be interviewed.
Alameddine, 20, was from the Boston suburb of Saugus and attended Austin Preparatory School in Reading, Mass., before going to Virginia Tech. His majors were listed as English, business information technology and French, but they don't capture the breadth of his talent or his promise.
"He's the only kid I know who was able to self-teach himself to the mastery level of piano before fifth grade," wrote Nikki Herook, a student at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
Justin Keyser, a classmate in an English course called "Contemporary Horror," remembers a conversation with Alameddine about how the final scene of "Friday the 13th" was one of the best in horror film history.
"You were awesome/hilarious in class, and I wish I could've had the chance to hear some of your improv poetry," Keyser wrote.
Alameddine was deeply into tech and the gaming worlds. He wrote to the site Engadget.com in September predicting the demise of iPods.
"My theory is that iPods will be the AOL of mp3 players," he said. "They are sleek, easy to set up . . . and come with a boatload of good looks. But just like AOL, people will figure out, 'Oh, I don't need to use iPods to listen to mp3s.' "
Joshua Peimer of Vermont first knew Alameddine as "addraek," part of a dueling clan in the games "Jedi Outcast" and "Jedi Academy."
"The people who knew him in games knew him as a good friend with a fast sense of humor and a strict sense of honor," Peimer wrote yesterday.
Leah Robinson, a Tech friend, described being pursued by a television reporter as she walked to Cassell Coliseum for Tuesday's memorial convocation.
"My first thought was 'Ross would get a kick out of this' and I could just hear you going 'PUNT it!!'"
-- Bill Turque, The Washington Post