Rakesh K. Kapania, a professor in the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, was appointed the Norris and Laura Mitchell Professor of Aerospace Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors during the board's quarterly meeting March 31.

The Mitchell Professorship was established in 2006 by a gift from Norris and Laura Mitchell. Norris Mitchell is a graduate of aerospace engineering at Virginia Tech, and both he and his wife have long been strong supporters of the department.

Kapania, who joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1985, has established an internationally respected research program in the areas of computational mechanics and aeroelasticity, with emphasis on the finite element method, fluid-structures interaction, multidisciplinary analysis and design optimization, deterministic and probabilistic mechanics, nonlinear analysis of composite structures, neural networks, and adaptive structures.

During his career at Virginia Tech, Kapania has served an appointment as a Boeing-Welliver Fellow, received the College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research, and has served twice as associate editor of the Journal of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In addition, he has advised more than 60 graduate students and authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers.

Kapania completed his Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering at Purdue University; his master’s degree at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India; and his bachelor’s degree at Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh, India.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 5,700 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 1,800 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.