Y.A. Liu, Frank C. Vilbrandt Endowed Professor of Chemical Engineering, in Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, is the 2010 recipient of the Outstanding Career Achievement Award from the Tufts University graduate school of arts, sciences, and engineering.

This award is presented annually to Tufts graduates who have "with the help of his/her graduate education, excelled in his/her career of choice," according to Tufts Web site. Liu was selected for the honor from more than 12,000 Tufts graduate alumni of arts, sciences, and engineering.

Liu received his master's degree in chemical engineering from Tufts in 1970. "I am very thankful to the education and opportunity that Tufts provided me 40 years ago that enabled me to later receive my doctoral degree from Princeton University." He started his teaching career at Auburn University in Alabama in 1974, before joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1982.

At Virginia Tech, Liu has received 22 international, national, regional, state and university awards for his teaching, research, and scholarship. He received the Chemical Manufacturers Association's National Catalyst Award for teaching excellence in 1986; the American Society for Engineering Education's (ASEE) George Westinghouse Award for excellence in engineering education in 1990; and the ASEE's Fred Merryfield Award for excellence in both teaching and research of engineering design in 1993.

He also won the Dean's Award for Excellence, College of Engineering, twice in 2000 and 2007 from the Virginia Tech College of Engineering, as well as other teaching honors from student groups. He also was recognized in 2000 with an Outstanding Faculty Award from Virginia's Governor and with the National Friendship Award from the Premier of the People's Republic of China.

Since the 1980s, Liu has worked in industrial outreach, promoting sustainable development in Virginia industries and developing countries. While serving as a senior advisor to the president of China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC), the largest energy and chemical company in Asia, during a 2004 -2005 sabbatical, Liu led the development of water-saving engineering proposals throughout SINOPEC's 45 refining and chemical subsidiaries. This effort resulted in a 1.8 billion Renminbi ($262 million U.S.) investment in 2006-2008, a reduction of 568 million tons in fresh water consumption per year, a 44 percent drop in water usage and a 60 percent decrease in wastewater discharge.