The late Sam G. Riley III, professor of communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the “professor emeritus” title posthumously 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 of visitors by Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands. 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 1981 until his death earlier this year, Riley made significant contributions to the study and teaching of American journalism. He was regarded as a leading authority on Southern newspapers and magazines.

Riley was the author of 19 books, numerous professional articles and conference papers, and more than 1,000 reference book entries. He was a founding member of the editorial board of the Journal of Magazine and New Media Research.

He served his discipline through participation in several professional organizations, including the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, American Journalism Historians’ Association, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and The Society of Professional Journalists.

During his Virginia Tech career, Riley served as head of the Department of Communication for four years in the early years of the department. He taught a wide variety of undergraduate courses ranging from magazine and opinion writing to communication law, ethics, and media institutions.

He was an advisor and mentor to many undergraduate students and helped them to develop successful careers in journalism. In 1985, Riley established the Virginia Tech chapter of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national mass communications honorary, and received the William Howard Taft Award for outstanding chapter advisor in 2000.

In 2001, Riley he was selected as National Magazine Educator of the Year by the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication. He also was inducted into Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for international scholars.

Riley received his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College, and an M.B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.

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.