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Geoscientist awarded international honorary degree


Robert J. Bodnar Robert J. Bodnar accepts an honorary degree from the University of Naples.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 22, 2010 – Robert J. Bodnar, University Distinguished Professor of Geosciences in the College of Science, has been awarded an honorary degree from the Università di Napoli Federico II (the University of Naples). 

This is the highest recognition given by the academic community in Italy. He is the first earth scientist ever to receive this honor by the university, which is the second oldest in the country, having been founded in 1224.

Bodnar, who is also the C.C. Garvin Professor of Geochemistry, has been collaborating with Professor Benedetto De Vivo at the university for the past 15 years, working on active volcanoes in the southern region of the country. The collaboration was formalized through a memorandum of understanding signed by Provost Mark McNamee and President Guido Trombet of the University of Naples in 2002. The agreement, which has been renewed twice since then, has enabled research exchanges with graduate students at both universities.

In addition to conducting research, Bodnar teaches a week-long course in Naples entitled, Fluids in the Earth, which is attended by graduate students from Naples as well as other universities in Italy and throughout Europe.

“This degree is an honor I am most proud of,” Bodnar said. “I was selected for the award by a group of my peers who consider my contributions to the science and my efforts to promote international research cooperation to be worthy of this honor.”

The University of Naples is a large, comprehensive institution offering programs in more than a dozen areas such as sciences, engineering, arts, humanities, and law.

The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biological sciences, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college offers programs in cutting-edge areas including, among others, those in energy and the environment, developmental science across the lifespan, infectious diseases, computational science, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The College of Science is dedicated to fostering a research-intensive environment that promotes scientific inquiry and outreach.