The late Lucian W. Zelazny, the Thomas B. Hutcheson Professor of Soil Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the "professor emeritus" title posthumously by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Zelazny died March 17, 2009. He was 66 years old.

The title of emeritus may be conferred on retired professors and associate professors, administrative officers, librarians, and exceptional staff members 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 from 1976 to his death earlier this year, Zelazny applied his profound knowledge of soil chemistry and mineralogy to the discovery of the relationship between soil components, soil solutions, and a variety of soil environmental questions.

Zelazny served as the graduate mentor or co-mentor for more than 35 graduate students and taught state-of-the‚Äďart, hands-on classes in soil chemistry, soil mineralogy, and colloid and surface chemistry. His efforts with students and collaborators ranged from qualitative and quantitative mineralogy to chemical relations of aluminum, phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients in agricultural, forested, and highly distributed materials.

Zelazny received numerous honors and awards including being named Fellow of both the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy, and the Virginia Tech Gamma Sigma Delta Faculty Research Award. He published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and 19 book chapters, as well as countless abstracts, technical reports, and other publications.

He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Vermont and his Ph.D. in soil science from Virginia Tech.