Joseph Merola of Blacksburg, professor of chemistry and former senior administrative fellow in charge of restructuring at Virginia Tech, has been recognized by President Charles Steger and Provost Mark McNamee for his work on extensive restructuring at Virginia Tech.

"Joe has left his mark on Virginia Tech both as interim dean of the Graduate School and, most recently, as the senior administrative fellow in charge of restructuring," Steger told members of the university community who gathered recently to honor Merola.

McNamee also had words of praise for Merola. "What better leader could we have selected to coordinate this effort than Joe Merola? As his five teaching awards attest, Joe knows how to get his points across and how to do it in a way that keeps people informed . . . . Joe knows the university and has impressed many people with his leadership skills," he said.

Merola has served on numerous department, college and university committees and was associate dean for research and outreach in the College of Arts and Sciences when he was tapped in January 2001 to serve as interim dean of the Graduate School. When that position was filled on a permanent basis, the provost asked him to lead the university's restructuring process. "We needed a point person, someone who knew Virginia Tech and could provide wise guidance as the campus community started examining -- and then making -- major changes in the academic structure of the university," McNamee said.

During the restructuring process, McNamee added, "Joe worked closely with the faculty, administrators and staff to make the changes as effective as possible."

Steger and McNamee presented Merola with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the university.

Merola has been at Virginia Tech since 1987, having come here from Exxon's Corporate Research and Engineering Co., where he was a senior research chemist. He also has served as visiting associate at the California Institute of Technology and as a research assistant and teaching assistant at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Merola earned a bachelor's degree at Carnegie-Mellon University and his Ph.D. from MIT. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Chemical Society (ACS) and Inorganic Chemistry Division. He has published extensively in professional journals and books, organized a symposium for the ACS's Southeast Regional Meeting, and served as a reviewer for proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation, the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, and the Department of Energy.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities, and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg, and other campus centers in northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 170 academic degree programs.