Kray Luxbacher, professor of mining and minerals engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been named the Charles T. Holland Professor of Mining and Minerals Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Charles T. Holland Professorship was created in 1976 in honor of the former head of the department who served from 1948 to 1961. It was created to attract and retain eminent scholars in the College of Engineering, and recipients hold the professorship for a period of five years.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2008, Luxbacher has gained an international reputation as one of the leading experts in the area of underground mine ventilation with specialized expertise in atmospheric monitoring, ventilation system characterization, mine fire simulation and prevention, and mine risk analysis.

She has published more than 60 papers, advised more than 20 graduate students, and been involved in research totaling more than $6 million. Luxbacher has undertaken research projects involving transfer of best practice in mining risk management between the United States and Australia. She has been appointed to a Centers for Disease Control-National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC-NIOSH) federal advisory board for mine safety and health research.

Luxbacher is highly regarded by faculty and students for her ongoing contributions to teaching and advising. She has led efforts in her department to transition the mining engineering curriculum into a leadership-based program. She has also served as the lead faculty in the development of the first department strategic plan in 2014, with advice and recommendations from alumni, the industry and the departmental advisory board.

Deeply committed to diversity and inclusion, Luxbacher is the founding faculty member of the Watford Society, promoting diversity and inclusion in the mining engineering student body. In addition, she was the founding faculty advisor for the Virginia Tech Mine Rescue Team, which competes in collegiate-level, problem-solving and mine safety events modeled on industry.

Luxbacher received her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.

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