Roberto T. Leon, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, was named the Charles E. Via Jr. Professor by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Via professorship is funded through an endowment established in 1987 by Marion Via Bradley in honor of her late husband to recognize excellence in faculty research. Recipients of the professorship hold the title for a period of five years.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2011, Leon is a multi-talented, nationally and internationally recognized scholar who is acknowledged to be one of the leading researchers in the world in the field of steel-concrete composite structures and seismic design and performance of new and existing steel and composite structures. His work has beneficially impacted numerous national and international design codes. 

Leon has published more than 170 peer-reviewed papers, books and book chapters and his work has received over 7,000 citations. In his career, he has directed or co-directed nearly $7 million in external research funding. In addition, Leon has been part of large, multidisciplinary teams that have collectively conducted more than $120 million in research. He has advised or co-advised to completion 35 Ph.D. students, 48 master’s degree students, and more than 20 undergraduate research students.

Leon has received notable recognition for his many contributions to the civil engineering profession and for his scholarly achievements. His most recent awards include the Beedle Award from the Structural Stability Research Council, the Geerhard Haaijer Award for Excellence in Education from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), and the Lifetime Achievement Award from AISC.

His contributions also were recognized by his election to Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015, the highest recognition the profession confers.

At Virginia Tech, Leon held the title of the David H. Burrows Professor of Construction Engineering from 2011-21.

Leon received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a master’s degree from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

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