Tom DiLorenzo was with his wife, Suzanne Austin, the College of Charleston’s newly appointed provost, at approximately 6:15 a.m. when two men armed with a handgun demanded money from the couple in downtown Charleston.
DiLorenzo was shot during the robbery attempt and was taken to a local hospital, where he died, according to a police report. Austin wasn’t injured.
Late Friday night, Charleston Police announced the arrests of two juvenile males. The suspects, ages 15 and 16, have both been charged with murder and attempted armed robbery. One is also charged with possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
The news, which broke around noon Friday, sent shockwaves across UND and the Greater Grand Forks community. The incident became national news, with at least one national network reporting it during a 5:30 p.m. newscast.
DiLorenzo, 63, retired as provost of UND on June 1 after having been at the university for seven years.
His death comes six weeks after he retired from UND and a few weeks after he and his wife moved to Charleston.
Joshua Wynne, former interim president of UND and dean of the medical school, remembered DiLorenzo for his hard-working nature and commitment to UND.
“To earn your retirement and then six weeks later be gone is incredibly sad,” Wynne said. “I’m sure he was working until the minute he walked out the door and locked it.”
“He cared deeply about UND,” Debbie Storrs, interim provost at UND, said. “He encouraged us to think differently, look forward, and envision a better university. He was committed to equity and hired many women into leadership positions.”
Storrs said DiLorenzo’s “new adventure was abruptly ended.”
“It is hard to put to words the sadness, especially in the world we live in today,” she said. “He will be missed. His impression on UND is felt, and we will continue to think forward.”
Gracie Lian, former student body president, said she was in a state of shock Friday after hearing the news.
“He was always so warm and welcoming and ready to listen to the student voice, which I think was so important,” Lian said, speaking of her time interacting with DiLorenzo. “He really did care about student opinion on things.”
Lian said she was especially impressed with DiLorenzo’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic as he was wrapping up his final months at UND. She said he was always reaching out to student leaders to ensure they were comfortable with the plans.
“Tom worked tirelessly to help better UND,” Matthew Ternus, UND student body president, told the Herald.
He said DiLorenzo was “always a caring person” who was “ready to listen.”
“Tom was a servant leader during his time at UND,” he said.
DiLorenzo served under presidents Robert Kelley and Mark Kennedy during his time at UND. He also served under interim presidents Ed Schafer and Wynne.
He arrived at UND in 2013 and worked to advance and lead initiatives to increase student retention and improve graduation rates. He was a central figure in the development of UND’s strategic plan.
2 juveniles arrested in death of husband of College of Charleston Provost
Charleston Police Department announced two juvenile males were arrested in connection to the murder of 63-year-old Tom Dilorenzo, the husband of the College of Charleston Provost Suzanne Austin.
Officials say the suspects are 15 and 16 years old and both are charged with murder and attempted armed robbery. One is also charged with possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Police say the suspects are being held in the juvenile detention center and will have a hearing before a family court judge.
Officials say 6:15 AM, Austin and DiLorenzo were walking near the intersection of King and Clifford Streets when they were approached by the juveniles. One of the males was armed with a handgun and demanded money from the couple. DiLorenzo was shot during the robbery attempt and later died at MUSC. Austin wasn’t injured.
Police believed it was an isolated incident.
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