Donald J. Orth, the Thomas H. Jones Professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech, has received the university's 2014 William E. Wine Award.

The William E. Wine Achievement Award was established in 1957 by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association in memory of William E. Wine, Class of 1904, who was a former rector of the board of visitors and alumni association president. Following a college-level selection process of candidates nominated by students, faculty, and alumni, each college may put forth one nominee. Three faculty members are selected annually to receive this award by a committee representing all eight colleges at the university. Each Wine Award winner receives $2,000 and automatic induction into the Academy of Teaching Excellence.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1980, Orth has taught numerous classes from the first-year to the graduate level and has received two Certificates of Teaching Excellence and three Outstanding Faculty Awards. He led the efforts to revise his college’s First-year Experience Program, Invent the Sustainable Future, and has directed more than 26 undergraduate student research projects and 31 graduate student projects.

Among his many classroom contributions, Orth revised the curriculum of Ichthyology, the introductory class on the study of fishes. Today, the course includes drawing, annotating, photography, essays, and reflective writings. He incorporated the use of Flickr for archiving, tagging, and annotating photos of fishes.

His research focuses on managing rivers to enhance or protect fish populations and promote sustainability. Orth has published more than 200 technical works, including articles, book chapters, and monographs. At Virginia Tech, he has received 50 grants and contracts totaling $7.5 million, of which he was personally responsible for $4.3 million.

In addition to his teaching and research, Orth served as department head for seven years.

He is a life member of the American Fisheries Society and a Certified Fisheries Professional since 1984. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists and the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute. He currently serves as president of the Virginia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. 

Orth has received the Regional Director’s Conservation Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Making a Difference Award from the Instream Flow Council.

A past president of the National Association of University Fisheries and Wildlife Programs, Orth has also served as associate editor for the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, and Rivers: Studies in Science, Environmental Policy, and Law of Instream Flow.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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