Joseph P. Fontenot, of Blacksburg, the John W. Hancock Professor of Animal and Poultry Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, was conferred with the title "professor emeritus" by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors during the board’s quarterly meeting Monday, Aug. 23.

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 faculty for 47 years, Fontenot is an internationally recognized researcher and teacher of ruminant nutrition and its impact on the feed, forage, and beef cattle industries of Virginia and across the world. His contribution to nutrition research is indicated by his more than 180 scientific publications, 200 abstracts, and 290 progress reports.

Fontenot was president of the American Society of Animal Science and the Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also serves on the Board of Agriculture of the National Academy of Science and chairs the Committee on Animal Nutrition of the National Research Council.

During his career, Fontenot received numerous awards, including the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association Industry Service Award, the Distinguished Service Award from the Southern Section of the American Society of Animal Science, the Medallion Award from the American Forage and Grassland Council, and the Morrison Award for Contributions to Scientific Research from the American Society of Animal Science.

Fontenot received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University.

Consistently ranked by the National Science Foundation among the top 10 institutions in agricultural research, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers students the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading agricultural scientists. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives students a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. The college is a national leader in incorporating technology, biotechnology, computer applications, and other recent scientific advances into its teaching program.

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 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.