W. Lee Daniels, professor of crop and soil environmental sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been reappointed the Thomas B. Hutcheson Jr. Professor by Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands and Senior Vice President and Provost Mark G. McNamee.

The Thomas B. Hutcheson Jr. Professorship was established in 1986, funded by donations from alumni and friends of the university, to honor Hutcheson, the former head of the Department of Agronomy at Virginia Tech.

Recipients hold the professorship for a period of five years, but can be reappointed. Daniels was first appointed as the Thomas B. Hutcheson Jr. Professor in 2010.

A member of Virginia Tech faculty since 1981, Daniels was hired and mentored as a young faculty member by Hutcheson and has gone on to become nationally recognized for his pioneering research in reclamation of disturbed lands, particularly those impacted by mining, waste disposal, road building, and other forms of perturbation.

He was among the first researchers to develop and implement highly effective remediation strategies, including the use of municipal and industrial waste products as soil amendments. He has also been a leader in areas of wetland restoration and genesis and chemistry of mine soils. His current research deals with the conversion of dredge sediments to useful soils.

Daniels’ work has influenced regulatory policies concerning soil residues generated by coal-fired power plants. In the mid-1990s, he was a panel member of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and authored a report that the agency has been using ever since to develop regulations for use of coal byproducts.

In 2000, Daniels received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Wastewater Management Excellence Award in biosolids research. In 2012, he received the William T. Plass Award from the American Society of Mining and Reclamation for career achievement.

A highly dedicated and effective teacher, Daniels teaches introductory soil science lecture and laboratory courses to more than 150 students annually, in addition to several other undergraduate and graduate courses in geomorphology and mined land reclamation.

Daniels received his bachelor's degree in forestry, and his master's degree and Ph.D. in agronomy, all from Virginia Tech.

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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