Fred Benfield, professor of ecology and alumnus in the College of Science’s Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of professor 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 Tim Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive an emeritus certificate from the university.
A member of the university community since 1971, Benfield contributed to research on the responses of stream systems to current and historical land-use change as reflected by ecosystem level processes and biodiversity. His scholarship also spanned pollution ecology, aquatic insect toxicology, distribution and abundance of aquatic macroinvertebrates, and arthropod defensive behavior.
Benfield authored and co-authored approximately 100 publications and presented many papers at national and international scientific meetings. He has served as president of the Society for Freshwater Science, and in 2012, he received that society’s Distinguished Service Award for his many contributions.
He also served as the associate head of the Department of Biological Sciences for 17 years.
In the classroom, Benfield taught a variety of courses ranging from large sections of freshman biology to advanced graduate courses. He advised numerous graduate students during his career, serving as the graduate advisor for 16 master’s degree and 16 doctoral degree students. He also advised many undergraduate students and helped them develop successful careers after graduation.
Benfield received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in biology from Appalachian State University in, respectively, 1964 and 1965, and a Ph.D. in zoology from Virginia Tech in 1970.