Four distinguished Virginia Tech scholars are about to join the university’s most prestigious faculty ranks.

At its quarterly meeting held Monday, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors unanimously approved three new University Distinguished Professor appointments and one Alumni Distinguished Professor appointment.

Romesh Batra, Clifton C. Garvin Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the College of Engineering; Daniel Crawford, professor of chemistry in the College of Science; and A. Roger Ekirch, professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, will become University Distinguished Professors on April 10.

Wing Ng, Chris C. Kraft Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering, will become an Alumni Distinguished Professor, also on April 10.

“I’m very pleased that we are able to extend this high honor to these outstanding faculty members,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “Each of them has had an extraordinary and lasting impact on their discipline and brought significant recognition to our university.”

 “Virginia Tech seeks to provide greater recognition of the exceptional level of distinguished research and scholarship taking place at Virginia Tech, particularly as the number of faculty members continue to grow,” said Cyril Clarke, executive vice president and provost. “These appointments support the president’s desire to recognize more of our outstanding faculty and to grow the ADP and UDP ranks over time.

“These appointments also will bring greater diversity of scholarship to the ADP and UDP ranks,” Clarke added. “Over time, our goal is to recognize excellence across the full range of disciplines represented in our comprehensive land-grant university.”

Individual profiles on Batra, Crawford, Ekirch, and Ng will be published by Virginia Tech Daily beginning the first week of April.

The University Distinguished Professorship (UDP) is Virginia Tech’s preeminent faculty rank bestowed by the Board of Visitors upon members of the university faculty whose scholarly attainments have attracted national and/or international recognition. An extensive nomination and vetting process involves department and college honorifics committees, a specially convened university committee, the executive vice president and provost, and the president.

The rank of university distinguished professor shall be carried by incumbents until resignation or retirement from the university, subject to the normal standard of continuous high performance. The rank is conferred only by the university board of visitors and can be altered by that body alone, on the recommendation of the president of the university.

The Alumni Distinguished Professorship (ADP) is a preeminent faculty appointment recognizing faculty members who demonstrate extraordinary accomplishments and academic citizenship through substantive scholarly contributions across all three of Virginia Tech’s core mission areas of teaching, research or creative activity, and engagement. An extensive nomination and vetting process involves department and college honorifics committees, a specially convened university committee, the executive vice president and provost, and the president.

As with the University Distinguished Professors, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors confers upon an individual appointment as Alumni Distinguished Professor. ADPs serve for a period of 10 years, at which time the appointment may be renewed.

The appointments announced today follow the retirements of Fred Lee, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Alumni Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Ezra “Bud” Brown in 2017.

A member of the university community since 1977, Lee pioneered the development of the power electronics curriculum and its research program, and both are recognized among the best in the world.

Brown, who began his career at Virginia Tech in 1969, made significant contributions to number theory and related areas of mathematics and was widely recognized by colleagues and students as an outstanding classroom teacher.

Effective of April 10, Virginia Tech will have 18 University Distinguished Professors and 10 Alumni Distinguished Professors.

Share this story