| Loganathan’s mother Kannammal outside the US consulate in Chennai. (AP)
Chennai, April 18: Even in death, G.V. Loganathan didn’t want to leave the university to which he dedicated his working life.
As the professor’s family prepared to leave for the US tonight, they said they would ask Virginia Tech authorities if the university could honour the shooting victim’s wish of being laid to rest on the campus.
The Tamil Nadu government worked round the clock since yesterday to arrange for passports and visas so that the family could catch tonight’s flight to be at the funeral. The state will bear the expenses of the trip by nine of Loganathan’s relatives, including his parents, two brothers and father-in-law.
Student after student at the university today expressed love and gratitude for the ever-smiling 51-year-old teacher, who was among the 32 people gunned down on campus by a troubled South Korean student on Monday.
“He was a great man… always available to help and always smiling. God be with you,” said Scott Dowell of the professor of civil and environmental engineering, who had been at Virginia Tech since 1982.
“Professor Loganathan, you were an amazing teacher,” said another student, Dustin Sordelett. “You brought laughter and smiles to the classroom…. Thank you for caring for us so much; you will always be remembered.”
“He had told his wife that were he to die in America, he should be laid to rest on the campus,” one of Loganathan’s relatives said at the family’s home in Gobichettipalayam, Erode district.
The family belongs to the Gounder caste, which allows either burial or cremation after death.
“But we don’t know if the university would allow that wish,” the relative said. “Things will become clear after we reach the campus.”
Their Lufthansa flight will take the family from Chennai to Roanoke, the nearest point to Virginia state, via Washington.
Four of the nine members needed tatkal passports, the chief minister’s office had learnt last night. These were issued this afternoon. By evening, the nine non-immigrant visas had been handed out.
Loganathan’s father G.K. Vasudevan, in his late seventies, bore his pain silently but the professor’s 71-year-old mother, Kannammal, broke down as she received her passport.
Chief minister M. Karunanidhi had sent an official from the state protocol department to arrange for the family to travel to the regional passport office and the US consular office in Chennai.