S.K. De Datta, of Blacksburg, associate provost for international affairs at Virginia Tech, received the university's Clifton Garvin Fellowship Award. The award was conferred by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors at its quarterly meeting Monday, Nov. 8.

The Clifton Garvin Fellowship Award was established by Virginia Tech from an unrestricted gift from Clifton C. Garvin. The fellowship program honors select faculty and staff in recognition of significant academic or professional accomplishments.

In October, the university's Office of International Research, Education, and Development received the largest single-day award to any university by the U.S. Agency for International Development Economic Growth, Agriculture, and Trade Programs in the form of two grants totaling $34 million for five years. The work will enhance food security while limiting negative impacts on natural resources through sustainable agricultural programs in developing countries.

The Garvin Fellowship recognizes De Datta's role in securing the two grants. He is the principal investigator on both projects.

Since 1991, De Datta has served as director of Virginia Tech's Office of International Research and Development, which was expanded in 2003 to become the Office of International Research, Education, and Development. He also was associate dean for international agriculture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for 10 years and is a tenured professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences. He was named associate provost for international affairs in August 2003.

De Datta's research on rice has significantly changed the production of this important food crop, the staple of diets around the world. He also worked to improve rice production methods, leading to the substitution of direct seeding of rice for the age-old transplanting method of rice propagation, an innovation that enabled rice farmers to produce three crops per year with less labor on fields that previously had only yielded one annual crop. Additionally, his contributions in weed and crop nutrient management practices have led to significant changes in farming in 55 rice-growing countries.

De Datta's work has been acknowledged as a significant factor in bringing about the "green revolution" caused by the introduction of improved farming methods in the developing world. He received the prestigious Borlaug Award from the vice president of India in December 1992 in recognition of his contributions.

De Datta's book, Principles and Practices of Rice Production, is considered the definitive work on rice production. He also has written a handbook on rice weed control, six book chapters, six technical bulletins, and 351 journal articles. He has mentored 77 graduate students from 23 countries in soil science, agronomy, and weed science and has received numerous national and international awards from organizations in several countries as well as an outstanding alumnus award from the University of Hawaii. De Datta is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of America, and the Crop Science Society of America and is the only American recipient of international service awards from all three organizations.

Earlier this year, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo honored De Datta with a Presidential Citation Award to recognize De Datta's contributions towards eradicating hunger through improved agricultural productivity and food security. De Datta received his Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii on a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become one of the largest universities 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. Tech's Continuing and Professional Education program is the largest in Virginia, with more than 450 annual non-credit offerings.