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Friday, October 5, 2001

 N E W S

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PSU grad, terror victim, remembered fondly

By Mike Joseph

UNIVERSITY PARK -- Recent Penn State graduate David Suarez, one of the thousands who perished Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center, was remembered as a charismatic and high-energy young man who was clear about what he wanted to do with his life.

Instructor Elena Joshi, Suarez's adviser, said the industrial and manufacturing engineering program teaches its students to be problem solvers and Suarez thrived in that environment. "He was a great student -- he just always put forth his best effort," Joshi said.

Terry Boles, president of Kappa Alpha fraternity, said as rush chairman, Suarez channeled his energy into recruiting new members after the fraternity obtained a new house for itself at 234 E. Beaver Ave.

"He dedicated his entire semester to it," Boles said, "and the result was the biggest pledge class we've had in a long time."

Suarez, 24, graduated from Penn State in 1999 and immediately began work with information technology consultants Deloitte Consulting in Chadds Ford.

Suarez was on the 99th floor of the World Trade Center north tower -- he'd gone there to help a company to implement Oracle software -- when the first hijacked airliner struck at about 8:45 a.m. Sept. 11.

Penn State professor Soundar Kumara, who teaches industrial engineering, computer science and information technology, had Suarez in two courses and kept in touch with him after he left the university.

"He wanted to do information technology -- his goal was to become an IT consultant," Kumara said. "He was very clear in his mind what he wanted to do."

Kumara recalled that Suarez, tragically as it turned out, was a very punctual student. Suarez arrived ahead of three others for the Sept. 11 meeting with clients at the World Trade Center, Kumara said. Three others who were late survived.

"He was extremely motivated," Kumara said. "He was always ahead in doing things, including coming to meetings -- he was early."

Mike Joseph can be reached at 235-3910.

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