Hanif Sherali, University Distinguished Professor and W. Thomas Rice Chaired Professor of Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2009 Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Academic Advising.

Established by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Academic Advising is presented annually by the Office of the Provost to Virginia Tech faculty members who have been particularly dedicated and effective while advising graduate students. Recipients may be nominated by university faculty members or students, are selected by a committee of former award winners, and receive a $2,000 prize.

During his three decades of service to Virginia Tech, Sherali has advised 38 Ph.D. candidates and 43 master of science students to the completion of their degrees. “His Ph.D. graduates are highly recruited by the best universities in the world,” said G. Don Taylor Jr., the Charles O. Gordon Professor of Management and head of the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. “The vast majority of them hold very prestigious positions in industry and academia, and his legacy is thus ensured as his students build upon the work that they started in the graduate school.”

Many of Sherali’s advisees have won national awards for their research, including four recipients of the coveted Institute of Industrial Engineers Pritsker Doctoral Dissertation Award, the most prestigious student research award in the field. Four others have won the equivalent honor at the master’s degree level.

“During my doctoral studies, Dr. Sherali has patiently granted me with the time and freedom my research vision needed to mature,” wrote former advisee Ahmed Ghoniem, now an assistant professor at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “Whereas Dr. Sherali always provided in-depth corrections and notes on my research work, he has strongly encouraged my creative thinking and was very receptive to topics and ideas I brought to his attention. His professionalism, his scholarly standards, his kindness, subtly flavored with a great sense of humor and humility, make Dr. Sherali and excellent advisor.”

Other former graduate advisees noted Sherali’s ability to go beyond simple answers and inspire his students, his extraordinary talent as a teacher, and his willingness to continue professional relationships with students after they complete their degree requirements.

“Fortunately for our department, Professor Sherali’s involvement with advising does not end with the graduation of his students,” Taylor added. “He continues to serve as a mentor to them after graduation and even advises our new faculty members here at Virginia Tech.”

Sherali has served as principal investigator on 57 research projects sponsored by a variety of funding agencies, published more than 250 refereed articles in leading engineering publications, written six books, and consulted with numerous companies and other agencies about his research. He received his bachelor’s degree from Bombay University, and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Sherali is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

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