Robert Mahan, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the "professor emeritus" title by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

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 since 1970, Mahan established and directed the Thermal Radiation Group, a nationally prominent laboratory in remote sensing and infrared technology. He obtained more than $3 million in externally-funded research, authored or co-authored more than 100 contributions to technical literature, and authored a widely used radiation heat transfer textbook. Mahan served as assistant secretary of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Heat Transfer Division and as editor of the division’s newsletter. He also served as ASME faculty advisor for multi-year terms and as an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology evaluator for the accreditation of mechanical engineering programs.

As a professor, Mahan designed and taught the Engineering Design and Economics course and served as graduate advisor for 42 master’s and 14 doctoral students. He established and coordinated several student exchange programs with prominent European engineering schools, resulting in the exchange of more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students. He also served as a member of the National Advisory Committee for the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience, and served as a member of the board of directors for the Association for International Practical Training.

Mahan earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Kentucky. He also earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech and is a registered professional engineer.

Written by Krystyne Hayes. Hayes, of Front Royal, Va., holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.