Robert L. "Bob" Smith, professor of sustainable biomaterials in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1991 when he began working on his Ph.D., Smith joined the university’s faculty in 1994. He made significant contributions to wood science scholarship through his dedicated teaching across a wide range of courses offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He instructed students in the topics of forest products marketing, forest products business management, wood preservation, sales, and forest products industry studies.

He advised numerous master’s degree and doctoral students on their dissertations and helped them develop successful careers in both academic and industrial settings.

Smith was the co-author of three books on forest products marketing and management and published more than 100 peer-reviewed research publications with a global reach and numerous international collaborators. He participated in research projects garnering more than $6 million in funding.

In service to his college, Smith was the associate dean for engagement from 2007-21, led the college’s award-winning natural resource extension program, and provided many years of distinguished contributions to the department, college, and university through dedicated service on numerous committees.

In addition, Smith served as head of the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials from 2012-19. Under his leadership, the department was honored with the 2017 University Exemplary Department or Program Award for its efforts and achievement in maintaining exemplary teaching and learning environments for students and faculty.

From 2001-22, Smith served as the director of the Center for Forest Products Business and provided leadership in cooperation with the forest products industry in providing scholarships, research funding, and experimental learning activities for students in the department. He was also a forest products extension specialist from 1994-2007, serving the forest products industry in Virginia and the country.

Smith served as president of the International Society of Wood Science and Technology and as a Senior Fulbright Fellow to Austria.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan Tech University, an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.


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