Robert W. Walters, a professor of aerospace and ocean engineering in the College of Engineering and former vice president for research at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of “professor emeritus and vice president for research emeritus” by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

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

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1985, Walters made significant contributions to the field of aerospace engineering through his work in computational fluid dynamics with a focus on algorithm research.

In 1988, he founded AeroSoft Inc., a company that specializes in computational fluid dynamics software development and applications to develop solutions for the aerospace and defense industries. Ten years after the formation of AeroSoft, Walters sold the company to employees. He continued with the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and served as its department head in 2002 to 2005.

From 2007 to 2014, Walters served as vice president for research during which the research enterprise grew from $321.7 to $496.2 million, and built a strong platform for the growth of the university’s Department of Defense sponsored research while also strengthening the university’s infrastructure for research compliance.

In the classroom, Walters taught a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses ranging across the aerospace engineering curriculum, placing strong emphasis interdisciplinary student learning. He advised numerous students on master’s degree theses and doctoral dissertations, helping them develop successful careers in both academic and industrial settings.

In addition, Walters is the former chairman of the Aerospace Department Chairs Association and is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He has also has served as associate editor of the AIAA Journal and is a past chairman of the AIAA Ethics Committee.

Walters received his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering in 1984, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1978, and a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering in 1977, all from North Carolina State University, where he is a member of the university's College of Engineering Hall of Fame. Upon completion of his Ph.D., he worked at the NASA Langley Research Center as a research associate of the National Research Council.

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.