Donald G. Baird, Virginia Tech professor of chemical engineering, is the recipient of the 2009 Society of Plastics Engineers' (SPE) International Award, the highest honor SPE bestows upon a member.

Established in 1961, the SPE International Award stimulates and encourages fundamental contributions in plastics science and engineering. Baird will receive the award at the SPE annual conference in Chicago on June 22.

At Virginia Tech, Baird holds the Harry C. Wyatt Professorship of Chemical Engineering. His research interests are in polymer processing and rheology, composite materials and processing, and polymeric materials and properties. He is a member of the Virginia Tech Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute.

Baird has garnered awards throughout his career. He received Virginia Tech’s Alumni Research Award in 1991 and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998. He received Virginia Tech’s Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2002. SPE presented Baird with its International Award for Education in 2002 and its Research Award in 2003.

Baird, a former Academic All-American, Academic All Big Ten, and All Big Ten Honors while a member of the Michigan State University (MSU) football team, won the Jack Breslin Life Achievement Award in 2008 from the MSU Alumni Varsity Club. Baird was a member of the MSU team when it took the national championship in 1966.

He was elected first vice president of the materials engineering and science division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 2008 and became a division chair in 2009.

Baird received his bachelor of science degree in chemical and materials engineering from Michigan State University in 1969 and his master of science degree in materials and mechanics in 1971. In 1974, Baird received his Ph.D. in engineering science and mechanics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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