Charles William Steger Jr., who was president of Virginia Tech during the 2007 mass shooting there, died on Sunday at his home in Blacksburg, Va. He was 70.
His death was announced by the university, which did not specify the cause.
Mr. Steger, a Virginia Tech graduate who spent most of his professional career there, was president of the university from 2000 to 2014.
He drew praise as a steady hand after a gunman killed 32 faculty members and students on April 16, 2007. But he also faced blistering criticism from the parents of shooting victims and others for not warning the campus sooner that the shooter had killed two students in a residence hall.
More than two hours after the residence hall shooting, when an alert was issued, the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 30 more students and faculty members in a classroom building before turning a gun on himself as police closed in.
Mr. Steger defended his actions and resisted calls to resign. “We did the best we could knowing what we knew at the time,” he told The Associated Press in an interview in 2013, when he announced his retirement.
Charles William Steger Jr. was born on June 16, 1947, in Richmond, Va. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1970 and a master’s degree in 1971 from Virginia Tech, both in architecture. He also earned a Ph.D. in environmental sciences and engineering from the university in 1978.
He left a private-sector career in 1976 to teach at Virginia Tech. He was a faculty member, college dean, acting vice president for public service and vice president for development and university relations before becoming president.
During Mr. Stager’s time as president, Virginia Tech increased its enrollment, raised more than $1 billion in private funding, formed a school of biomedical engineering, created a public-private school of medicine and joined the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Janet.