In memoriam: Michael Ogliaruso, professor emeritus of chemistry
Michael Anthony Ogliaruso, professor emeritus of chemistry at Virginia Tech, died Feb. 11. He was 84. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Basila "Babs" Gallo Ogliaruso, and his son, Michael Dana.
He earned his bachelor’s degree and doctorate from the Polytechnic Institute of New York in 1960 and 1965, respectively. He was a postdoctoral researcher with Saul Winstein at UCLA before moving to Blacksburg to start his career at Virginia Tech as an organic chemist in 1967.
His research was in the area of carbocation chemistry. He quickly rose through the academic ranks and later served as an associate dean of the Virginia Tech College of Arts and Sciences. That college split into what is now the College of Science and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences in 2003.
Ogliaruso retired as a full professor in 1996 and was awarded status as professor emeritus. In his career, he co-authored more than 50 scientific papers, two books, and several book chapters. He was inducted into Virginia Tech’s Academy of Teaching Excellence in 1979 and won the university’s William E. Wine Award for Teaching Excellence in 1984.
A longtime member of the Department of Chemistry Advisory Council, an all-volunteer advisory board, Ogliaruso was a passionate advocate for education and an avid supporter of the department and its undergraduate program. Ogliaruso and his wife established the Ogliaruso Family Scholarship. Many of the award winners would tell you that they really became part of their family.
“I fondly remember the 1970s at Virginia Tech with Mike Ogliaruso,” Harry Dorn, a professor of chemistry, said. “Mike was a great scholar who gave points of wisdom to a younger faculty member in my early years at Virginia Tech. I will really miss him.”
Beyond science, simply chatting with Ogliaruso was always a pleasure to anyone who was bestowed the honor. Upon retirement, Ogliaruso became an accomplished actor in community theater and woodworker.
Ogliaruso left an indelible mark on the department and in the lives of the students whom he taught. He will be dearly missed by many within the Virginia Tech community and beyond.