W. Lee Daniels, professor of crop and soil environmental sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been appointed the Thomas B. Hutcheson, Jr. Professor by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
The Thomas B. Hutcheson, Jr. Professorship was established in 1985 by an anonymous donor to honor Thomas B. Hutcheson Jr., the former agronomy department head at Virginia Tech. Recipients hold the professorship for a period of five years.
A member of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty since 1981, Daniels is internationally recognized for his pioneering research in reclamation of disturbed lands, particularly those impacted by mining, waste disposal, road building, and other forms of perturbation. He was among the first researchers to develop and implement highly effective remediation strategies, including the beneficial use of municipal and industrial waste products as soil amendments.
He has also been a leader in the area of wetland restoration and genesis and chemistry of mine soils. His current research includes the conversion of river and ocean dredge sediments to useful soils, the recreation of prime farmlands following sand mining, and the development of accurate hydrologic prediction models for wetlands.
Daniels is also highly regarded as an effective and dedicated teacher. He teaches introductory soil science lecture courses to more than 150 students per year, in addition to other advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses.
He received his bachelor's degree in forestry, and his master's degree and Ph.D. in agronomy, all from Virginia Tech. This appointment is particularly meaningful to Daniels since he was hired and mentored as a young faculty member by Hutcheson.