Richard J. Neves of Blacksburg, professor of fisheries and wildlife science in the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech, was conferred the "professor emeritus" title by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors during the board's quarterly meeting on Nov. 3.

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 community since 1978, Neves faced unusual challenges in conducting research upon a largely unknown and critically imperiled freshwater mussel fauna. He integrated knowledge from the fields of malacology, freshwater ecology, phycology, physiology, fisheries science, and aquaculture, and achieved noteworthy contributions to our understanding of freshwater mussel biology. He wrote more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, five book chapters, five keynote addresses, and has co-edited a book.

A dedicated teacher, he taught courses in Endangered Species Management and Marine Fisheries, and he was the leader of the award-winning Virginia Cooperative Fisheries and Wildlife Research Unit.

Neves served on the editorial boards of the American Malacological Society, American Fisheries Society, and Society for Conservation Biology; as president of the Virginia Natural History Society and the Freshwater Mussel Conservation Society; and as trustee of the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

He has been recognized with several awards, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Research Director’s Conservation Award and a Director’s Commendation. The Nature Conservancy named him as one of the top 10 conservationists in America.

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island, a master’s degree from the University of Maine, and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts.