Charles W. Steger, president emeritus of Virginia Tech, has been appointed to a three-year term as a member of the Division of Earth and Life Studies (DELS) committee of the National Academy of Sciences. This represents one of the most significant honors given to an educator in the United States.

Steger, Virginia Tech's president from 2001 to 2014, is a three-time graduate of the university where he studied architecture and earned his Ph.D. in engineering. 

The prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide nonpartisan, objective guidance for decision makers on pressing issues and a wide array of complex policy questions. The DELS committee carries out the Academies’ mission to provide independent objective advice in the broad areas of earth, life, environmental, and chemical sciences and engineering.

“The work of the Academies is vital to our nation, providing proven leadership in the ability to help shape policy, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering and medicine.” said Steger. “I look forward to serving the Division of Earth and Life Studies committee.”

Steger also serves as executive director of the university’s Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience (GFURR), where he continues to lead Virginia Tech and partner organizations in developing an expanded knowledge base on infrastructural resilience. 

“We’re proud to see Dr. Steger receive this well-deserved honor, which is a testament to his long-standing commitment to science in the public interest and the spirit of “Ut Prosim” (That I May Serve),” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “The Academy will be well-served by his experience, wisdom and insight.”

Steger has spent virtually his entire career at the university leading it from one superlative to another. Under his leadership, Virginia Tech: increased its research portfolio by more than $300 million; grew enrollment from 27,869 to 31,087; increased graduate enrollment by 12 percent; raised more than $1 billion in private funding; added more than 3 million square feet of buildings; formed a school of biomedical engineering; created the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine; and joined the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Steger is a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects and received the 2004 Compass Award from the New Century Technology Council. Among numerous other awards, he received the 2009 Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, District III, and the 2010 Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

Membership in the National Academies is one of the highest honors afforded to scientists and engineers. Past members include Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell.

“Dr. Charles Steger will help our division carry out its mission of providing independent objective advice on some of the most critical challenges facing the nation and the world—from climate change to food and water security to environmental health, said Gregory Symmes, executive director, division on earth and life studies at the National Academies. “It’s my privilege to welcome Dr. Steger to the committee.” 

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was founded on March 3, 1863, at the height of the Civil War.

Under the authority of its charter, the National Academy of Sciences established the National Academy of Engineering in 1964 and the Institute of Medicine in 1970 (which became the National Academy of Medicine in 2015). Much like the National Academy of Sciences, each of these organizations consists of members elected by peers in recognition of distinguished achievement in their respective fields.

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