Ross Abdallah Alameddine
Major: English Minor: French and Business
Hometown: Saugus, MA (formerly of Melrose, MA)
High School: Austin Preparatory (Reading, MA) - Class of 2005
Died along with Prof. Couture-Nowak and 10 other students in French class.
CNN video: Promising life cut short
Personal Remembrances From Family/Friends/Colleagues
Submit your personal remembrance for posting here (please include your name and relationship).
Facebook memorial page: Remembering Ross Alameddine
From Dan O'Shea, childhood friend of Ross:
Ross grew up around the block from me.
We were long standing childhood friends. It was he who introduced me
to Monty Python, Mortal Kombat,
and video games as a whole. I can remember going over his house with
another friend and spending hours horsing around in "the big room", singing
the lumberjack song, and of course playing video games.
Newspaper Remembrance Stories
He Put People In A Better Mood
Ross Alameddine had the kind of easy-going personality and quirky sense of humor that people were easily drawn to.
After all, he had a knack for putting people in a better mood.
“He said the trick was to not take anything seriously, so spending time with him always put a smile on my face,” said Leah Robinson, 20, a sophomore who met Alameddine in music theory class and was close friends with him. That smile was so big “it made my face hurt on occasion,” she added.
“He was so charismatic and outgoing — all the teachers liked him,” said Bryan Griffith, another friend and Virginia Tech classmate. “He was one of those types of people that could teach himself anything without needing to be taught. This guy was brilliant.”
According to friends, Alameddine had a dizzying array of interests. He was into the arts but also enjoyed tinkering with computers and even building his own. “The kid never owned a television, but he has, like, three computer monitors in his room,” Griffith said.
Alameddine had legions of friends, and by Tuesday morning, a Facebook group dedicated to his memory showed an outpouring of support from friends, family and former classmates from as far back as elementary school.
“The man had a sense of humor like no other,” Robinson said, adding that he was the most “amazing, genuine person” she had ever met.
“It is such a waste because he could have done anything, I mean anything, with his life,” Griffith added.
— Christina Rogers (Roanoke Times, 4/18/07)
York Times Profile:
Ross Alameddine, a 20-year-old sophomore from Saugus, Mass., was known to keep a quote on his AOL Instant Messenger profile.
"Honesty and straightforwardness in strangers is a rarity. Treasure those who truly exemplify these traits -- because you may never again meet another who does."
Those who knew him well say it was an adage he chose to live by.
"He brought life into every life he touched," said Derek DeVito, a former classmate of Mr. Alameddine's at Austin Preparatory School in Reading, Mass., where the two attended high school.
A music fanatic, Mr. Alameddine loved jazz, and was also an avid video game enthusiast and computer whiz. But he was also known for his witty jokes and a sarcastic sense of humor that always seemed to lift friends' spirits.
Among the things he was most proud of, his friends say, was his car -- a teal Pontiac Grand Am that he won in a raffle and referred to as the car "I got for a dollar."
Leah Robinson, 20, a studio art major from Emporia, Va., took a music theory class last semester with Mr. Alameddine and became good friends with him. The two were the only nonmusic majors in a music theory class and bonded over it because they both loved music and took the class for fun.
Mr. Alameddine was a "hard core" fan of the jazz group Medeski, Martin and Wood, and tried to turn Ms. Robinson into one, too. Over time, they developed something of a routine: sitting together and doing homework, occasionally going to concerts, and almost always ending up stopping by the local IHOP for chocolate chip pancakes afterward.
Ms. Robinson saw Mr. Alameddine in person last week, but they chatted over the computer on Sunday night. Mr. Alameddine sent Ms. Robinson some quotes from her favorite movie, "The Science of Sleep," for an art project she was working on. They were trying to get together this week, she said.
English major was known for
Known to friends for his wit and reason, Ross Alameddine, 20, of Saugus, Mass., seemed to sparkle in and outside the classroom. Many of his friends who posted messages in his Facebook memorial reminisced about his enthusiasm for learning.
His sister, Yvonne Alameddine, and friend Jennifer Orcutt, co-administrators of his Facebook memorial, wrote: "Ross made such an impact on so many people." He was "extraordinarily witty and sarcastic, strong-willed, and a grammar god far superior to all of us."
Alameddine declared his English major shortly before Monday's tragedy, after having issued a challenge to his professor on the first day of class. Alameddine wrote to him that he was considering a French or English major: "That decision depends on this class. No pressure."
Alameddine loved video games and skateboarding. He was so adept at computer games that companies asked him to test their new products, Weathers said.
He remembered Alameddine as someone who "spoke up in class. He was always engaged … and lively."
Washington Post 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
Chronicle of Higher Education Profile:
Ross Abdallah Alameddine, a sophomore at Virginia Tech, always gave people a lift with his quick wit. He was the only reason Alexander Bailey, a classmate at Austin Preparatory School, in Reading, Mass., says he survived honors-English their junior year.
“His sense of humor and the jokes that were shared got me through the class I despised so much,” says Mr. Bailey, whose locker was three down from Mr. Alameddine’s. “He was one of the funniest and kindest people I’ve met.”
Two years after graduating with Mr. Alameddine, the comments he had written in friends’ yearbooks still make them laugh, they say.
The headmaster at Austin Prep, Paul J. Morgan, called Mr. Alameddine “a bright and engaged student, and a truly fine young man.”
The 20-year-old from Saugus, Mass., had just declared English as his major, and also enjoyed music. The jazz connoisseur took music theory for fun, one of only two students in the class who was a not a music major.
“If you were only here to read this, Ross,” read a message on Mr. Alameddine’s MySpace page from a friend who worked with him last summer, selling computers at Best Buy, “you’d know what an imaginative, intelligent, compassionate, and most of all hysterically funny human being you were.”
Sophomore from Saugus
called funny and flirtatious
Virginia Tech Magazine
Virginia Tech University Studies sophomore Ross Alameddine had recently declared a major in English and minors in French and business, fields that reflected his creativity and his computer knowledge.
He was the son of Lynnette Alameddine and Dr. Abdallah Alameddine and brother of Yvonne Alameddine. Ross, of Saugus, Mass., formerly of Melrose, Mass., attended St. Mary’s Grammar School in Melrose and was a 2005 graduate of Austin Preparatory School in Reading, Mass.
Ross loved computer games and played them competitively, especially “Company of Heroes.” He beta-tested some well-known games and even sold one of his online characters. Before coming to Virginia Tech, he worked as a home-computer repair specialist. “I’m sure all his customers loved him,” writes Professional Writing instructor Ed Weathers.
Ross loved rollerblading, whether it was between classes or on nice days. He adored movies and all music. He played piano and sang at the coffee house at Austin Preparatory. Ross’s fondness of language and voicing strong opinions manifested itself through active participation in the French and Debate clubs at Austin Prep.
The above defining characteristics only developed as Ross continued through college. English instructor Brent Stevens wrote, “Ross talked in every one of my classes. … He talked about his life, his emotions, his deep insights into the materials. He put himself out there in front of 35 people, most of whom he did not know, … helping us to understand what we were reading and viewing with his unique perspective. … Knowing Ross Alameddine sustains the belief that we all need so desperately right now: that there is good in this world.”
Ross always sought to make others laugh and enjoy life. “From our first few days together in class, I remember thinking, ‘Here’s a man who’s going to make his children laugh. Here is a man who deserves the title ‘beloved.’ Here’s a man who, just by being himself, makes you a better person,’“ wrote English instructor Robert Canter.
Ross’s American Literature classmate Komal Makhdoom wrote, “There’s no one else who made me laugh during class like [Ross] did or willingly drove downtown in the middle of the night to have profound religious discussions over some pizza. … I wish we could sit down again and try to finalize our definition of the meaning of life or discuss the differences between Massachusetts and Virginia-anything. … Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for leaving me such good memories. Thank you just for being you.”
Classmate Liz Hardwick remembers Ross’s many qualities: “His wit, humor, and insightfulness made him so much fun to be around, … but his caring for others was also always present.”
Another classmate, Emily Kirby, remembers Ross as a “true Hokie” and specifically recalls him saying that he could have gone to any small school in Massachusetts but decided on Virginia Tech.
For his final project in Professional Writing, Ross proposed to write a feasibility report for making and selling Virginia Tech products that, in Ross’s words, “have humor and parody in mind.” He wanted to sell the products because he wanted people associated with Virginia Tech to have souvenirs that made them laugh.
Through the Virginia Tech Foundation, the Ross Abdallah Alameddine Memorial Scholarship has been established at Virginia Tech in his memory. For more information and/or to donate to this memorial fund, see VT's Hokie Spirit Memorial Funds page.