BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 14, 2008 – Joe R. Cowles of Blacksburg, professor of biological sciences in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, was conferred the "professor emeritus" title by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors during the board's quarterly meeting on Nov. 3.
The title of emeritus may be conferred on retired professors and associate professors, administrative officers, librarians, and exceptional staff members who have given exemplary service to the university and who are specially recommended to the board of visitors by Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board of visitors receive an emeritus certificate from the university.
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1990, Cowles established and directed the Biological and Life Sciences Learning Community which helped a generation of first-year students to adjust to college life. He recruited many outstanding faculty as head of the Department of Biology from 1990 to 2002. He served the College of Science as interim head of the Department of Economics and associate dean for curriculum, instruction, and advising.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University, a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. from Oregon State University.