Norman Dowling, professor of materials science and engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of “professor emeritus” by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The title of emeritus may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved receive an emeritus certificate from the university.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1983, Dowling has made significant contributions to understanding the mechanics of materials, allowing engineers to use his findings for design and analysis, especially as related to materials fatigue.

He has written more than 40 peer-reviewed papers on the topic of materials fatigue. His first, written in 1972, became one of the most cited papers in the field. His textbook, “Mechanical Behavior of Materials,” has been widely adopted as an engineering textbook and has sold more than 42,000 copies.

Dowling was active in several professional associations, including the American Society for Testing and Materials, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and the American Society of Metals. He has been honored with the American Society for Testing and Materials Award of Merit and the honorary title of Fellow. His collaborations with colleagues in Japan, New Zealand, Italy, and France have broadened the College of Engineering's international activities.

Dowling has developed and taught nine engineering courses, reaching several thousand students. He has advised 15 undergraduate theses, 15 master’s degree theses, and seven doctoral dissertations.

In addition to holding the Frank J. Maher Professorship, Dowling served as interim head of the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics from 2002 to 2004 and interim head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 1999 to 2000.

Dowling received his bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.