Gifts provide endowed positions


From left: Katharine Knowlton, Rick Rudd, and Dennis R. Dean.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors recently named and reappointed a number of college faculty members to endowed positions.

Katharine Knowlton, professor of dairy science, was named the Colonel Horace E. Alphin Professor in Dairy Science.

The professorship was established in 2013 through a gift from Alphin, a member of the Class of 1934, to support outstanding teaching and research faculty in dairy science. Knowlton has been  a member of the Virginia Tech community since 1998 and has been widely recognized for excellence in teaching, advising, and scholarship.

Rick Rudd, professor and head of the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, was reappointed the Virginia Cooperative Extension Chair of Excellence in Community Viability.

The position was established in 2004 by an anonymous donor in honor of R. Michael Chandler, Donald P. Lacy, and J. Douglas McAlister in recognition of their service to Virginia Cooperative Extension. Rudd has gained national and international recognition for his work in rural leadership development and viable rural communities.

Dennis R. Dean, a University Distinguished Professor and director of the Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech, was recently reappointed the J.B. Stroobants Professor of Biotechnology.

Established in 1986 by a gift from Alphonese and Maria Stroobants of Bedford County, Virginia, in memory of Alphonese Stroobants’ father, the professorship supports a researcher in the college who is advancing knowledge and discoveries in biotechnology. Dean’s research centers on two related projects — the chemical mechanism of biological nitrogen fixation and how iron and sulfur are combined and mobilized to support various essential life processes, such as nitrogen fixation, photosynthesis, and respiration.