Donald Baird, the Alexander F. Giacco Professor of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of Alexander F. Giacco 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 recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1978, Baird is internationally known for his scholarship in the field of polymer rheology and its application to polymer, biopolymer, and polymer composite processing. He has received, as the principal investigator and co-principal investigator, approximately $40 million in research grants during his career.

Baird’s scholarship includes approximately 360 peer-reviewed publications and is the author (along with Dimitris Collias) of the textbook, "Polymer Processing: Principles and Design" (John Wiley and Sons), which has been used by engineering students for 25 years. In addition, he has six patents and a new application is being evaluated concerned with generating new composites for use in fused filament fabrication (or 3D printing). Baird has given more than 135 invited lectures at universities, conferences, and companies around the world.

In addition, Baird has served as co-director of Virginia Tech’s Center for Composite Materials and Structures.

In the classroom, Baird has taught a wide range of undergraduate courses, including Fluid Flow, Numerical Methods, and Polymer Processing, and he has taught a variety of graduate courses in transport phenomena and non-Newtonian fluids. He has served as the major advisor to 13 master’s degree students and 53 Ph.D. students.

In recognition of his teaching excellence, Baird received the College of Engineering’s Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998 and the Society of Plastics Engineers Award for Education in 2001. He also received the college’s Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Research in 2002, and the Society of Plastics Engineers International Award for Research in 2003 and the International Award in 2009.

Baird received his bachelor's degree and master's degree from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.