Virginia Tech's 2012 College of Engineering's Distinguished Service Award goes to Phil Burkholder, a 1986 honors graduate of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. 

"The college has more than 58,000 living alumni, and a significant number of them are extremely successful engineers, business people, and entrepreneurs, as well as practicing medical doctors, veterinarians, and lawyers, to name just a few diverse occupations our graduates will pursue. An engineering degree opens future doors to a wealth of occupations. So, for Mr. Burkholder to receive our Distinguished Service Award underscores his personal service to his profession and to our college," said Richard C. Benson,  dean of Virginia Tech's College of Engineering.

Burkholder joined Rolls-Royce in 1986 after his graduation and is based in Indianapolis, Ind.

"Phil exemplifies the hard work of our Hokie engineering graduates -- he has risen to the position of executive vice president of engineering and technology, defense sector.

Throughout his long career with Rolls-Royce, Phil has contributed to the propulsion system solutions for its aircraft, such as the Cessna Citation, the Global Hawk, and the F-35 Lightning II," said Benson, who holds the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair of Engineering, funded by Eric E. Schmidt of Google.

Benson made the presentation at the college's annual fall meeting of its Committee of 100, a select group of prestigious alumni who represent industrial executives, higher education officials, and entrepreneurs.

Burkholder has four patented inventions and is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

He served on the College of Engineering Advisory Board from 2008 to 2012. During his tenure on the board, the college had a number of extraordinary achievements occur in its ongoing relationship with Rolls-Royce.

"He was instrumental in the donation of a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 jet engine delivered from England and now hung in our new Signature Engineering Building. When this building opens in the spring of 2014, this engine -- more than 9 feet in width and the most fuel-efficient jet engine in aviation service today -- will serve as a modern engineering marvel, inspiring generations of talented students to pursue careers in science and in engineering," Benson said.

Beyond the gift of this engine, Rolls-Royce is making a significant investment in the Commonwealth of Virginia, based on the commonwealth's substantial success in higher education. Rolls-Royce, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia have established two research partnerships.

The first is the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, or CCAM. CCAM is now in its second full year of operation, and is directed by Virginia Tech chemical engineering alumnus David Lohr. It is located in new facilities in Petersburg, Va., and currently enlists about 10 industrial partners.

The second center is the Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems, or CCAPS. The CCAPS research is being conducted at both of Burkholder's alma maters, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. He is a graduate of the executive program of the Darden School of Business.

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