Last week’s Virginia Tech massacre hit close to home at John Carroll University.
Kevin Granata, a professor in the department of engineering science and mechanics at VA Tech, attended JCU for two years, from 1980 to 1982.
His office was in Norris Hall, the site of the second string of shootings.
Granata heard the shootings from this third-floor office and came downstairs to investigate. He was shot and killed in the hallway.
His sacrifice allowed for the students and a teaching assistant inside a classroom the time they needed to barricade themselves in.
At JCU, he was a physics major and played for the football team his freshman year.
Cleveland Plain Dealer business reporter Mary Vanac was friends with Granata their freshmen year, both being in the honors program. She sent him an e-mail the morning of the shooting but received no response.
“He was probably the finest man I’ve ever known. Integrity and chivalry were part of his genetic makeup,” Vanac said.
After attending JCU for two years, Granata transferred to The Ohio State University where he received his B.A. in engineering physics and electrical engineering in 1984 and his Ph.D. in 1993. Granata received his M.A. in physics from Purdue University in 1986.
Bill Marras, director of the biodynamic laboratory at The Ohio State’s College of Engineering and also Granata’s doctoral advisor, described Granata as “extremely bright but didn’t make everybody else feel stupid. We run into a lot of difficult personalities in this kind of work, and he got along with everybody.”
Granata was 45-years-old and had three children, ages 11 to 14.
He was a Toledo native.
Paul Granata, brother of the VA Tech professor said, “his biggest pride and joy was his family. He was very active in [his children’s] education and their sports.”
He also loved working with his students, his brother said.