Richard Turner, research professor of chemistry in the College of Science and former director of the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of director emeritus of the Macromolecules Innovation Institute and research professor 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 2004, Turner was the first director of the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute (now known as the Macromolecules Innovation Institute) for 10 years and was recognized at all levels of the university for unifying the dispersed programs in macromolecular science and engineering and leading the institute to enhanced national and international recognition.

Turner is an organic polymer chemist specializing in synthesis and characterization of novel step-growth polymers, hyperbranched polymers, ion-containing polymers, and novel polymers responsive to external stimuli.

During his tenure as institute director, Turner co-hosted the International Union’s Pure and Applied Chemistry premier biennial symposium in macromolecular science and engineering. More than 1,500 delegates attended this on-campus symposium.

Since 2005, Turner has served as an editor of Polymer, one of the highest ranked journals in the field of macromolecular science. In 2004, Turner was elected Fellow of the American Chemical Society in its charter class. He was also elected as a Fellow of the Division of Polymer Chemistry and a Fellow of the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering of the American Chemical Society.

At Virginia Tech, Turner developed a highly successful independent internationally recognized research program in polymer chemistry and advised 11 Ph.D. students and three master’s degree students. He received more than $3 million in external research funds from industrial and agency sources.

In the classroom, Turner taught polymer chemistry courses and developed and taught for 10 years the graduate level course, “Future Industrial Professional in Science and Engineering,” based on his industrial experiences before joining Virginia Tech.

He also served for six years as a member of the advisory board of Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc.

Turner received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Tennessee Tech University and his Ph.D. at the University of Florida.

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