BLACKSBURG, Va., April 30, 2009 – W. Samuel Easterling, the Montague-Betts Professor of Structural Steel Design in Virginia Tech’s Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will become the department head effective Aug. 10, 2009.
Easterling is acknowledged to be one of the leading researchers in composite floor systems, and his work has positively impacted numerous national design codes. He has published approximately 150 papers and reports since joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1987, and he directed or co-directed nearly $3.6 million of external research funding across more than 60 research grants and contracts.
Easterling has served as an assistant department head at Virginia Tech since 1998. He has been on the University’s Faculty Senate, Athletics Committee, Commission on Faculty Affairs, and the University Council. He is the 2005-06 past president of the Faculty Senate.
“I realize that the current budget reductions are challenging, painful, and will continue to affect the way we conduct departmental activities in the near term,” Easterling said. “However, I strongly believe that the strength and dedication of our faculty and staff will enable us to navigate through these tough times in an effective manner. I know our fundamental commitment to our teaching, research and service activities will remain strong.”
Richard Benson, dean of the College of Engineering and the Paul and Dorothea Torgersen Chair of Engineering, announced the decision to appoint Easterling who will succeed William Knocke, the W. Curtis English Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and department head since 1995.
“Dr. Easterling has demonstrated his strong leadership ability in many ways prior to this current appointment. Earlier this year, he completed a three-year term as Chair of the Structural Stability Research Council. He has co-chaired a number of international conferences, chaired national committees, and participated in the delivery of nation-wide continuing education programs with the American Institute of Steel Construction,” Benson said. “He has already greatly enhanced the visibility of our civil and environmental engineering program at Virginia Tech nationally and internationally.”
The quality of Easterling’s research has been recognized several times, including his selection by the American Society of Civil Engineers for the Walter L. Humber Civil Engineering Research Prize and his selection to be the 2002 T.R. Higgins Lecturer by the American Institute of Steel Construction. He also is known as a dedicated classroom instructor, concentrating in the structural engineering and steel design coursework.
Easterling earned his bachelor and master’s degrees in civil engineering from West Virginia University (WVU) in 1981 and in 1983, respectively. WVU inducted him in its Academy of Civil Engineers in 2007. He received his doctorate from Iowa State University in structural engineering in 1987.
He is a member of the American Institute of Steel Construction, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Engineering Education, International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering, Structural Stability Research Council, Chi Epsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, and Tau Beta Pi.
The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college’s 5,700 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a “hands-on, minds-on” approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 1,800 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation and the world.