Bay Area native Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was being mourned Wednesday night at his alma mater and his old fraternity at UC Berkeley.
Students at Alpha Tau Omega never knew the 52-year old Stevens, but they told KTVU they were inspired by his career.
They lit candles in his honor and projected his photo on the side of their house.
Alumni remember him as a man who had great dreams and a good heart.
Fellow diplomat Steven Browning remembered their conversation just before Stevens left for Libya.
"Very eager, very earnest and somewhat humbled by the task that he was about to take," said Browning. "I think he was very conscious of the enormity of the task."
It was a dream come true for the Bay Area native who graduated from Piedmont High School in 1978.
"He was just a great all-around guy and one of those guys from school that just stood out," recalled Elizabeth Roodner Murphy, his high school classmate.
Stevens graduated from UC Berkeley in 1982 with a history major, served in the Peace Corps in North Africa, then went on to get a law degree at Hastings.
His former professor, David Levine, remembered him as a confident young man with a desire to promote peace. He said Stevens' death was a huge shock.
Levine added that Stevens went to the Benghazi consulate to save his colleagues, instead of just sending in the Marines.
"For the ambassador to go to that consulate that shows him what kind of a guy he was," said Levine. "It just was completely unnecessary in terms of his job description but completely necessary in terms of the guy Chris Stevens was."
At the family's home in the East Bay hills, friends came with flowers Wednesday.
"I don't have much to offer here but just to as a friend reach out," said family friend Chip Upshaw.
Stevens never married. His mother told KTVU he was a great son and uncle, and a great man.
The family has asked for privacy as they grieve.
His mother plans to fly to Washington, D.C. Thursday to wait for her son's body to come home.
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