Six inducted to College of Science Hall of Distinction
December 4, 2014
The College of Science at Virginia Tech recently inducted its second class into the college's Hall of Distinction.
The College of Science Hall of Distinction honors those embody the college goals of enhancing the well-being and development of its community, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, or the world, and who exemplify Virginia Tech’s motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).
Marni E. Byrum (Class of 1976, political science)
Marni E. Byrum is a private practice attorney focusing on labor, employment, and personnel law, and currently serves on the Special Committee on the Future of Law Practice for the Virginia State Bar (VSB).
Byrum has chaired the VSB Standing Committee on Legal Ethics Committee, the Multijurisdictional Practice Task Force, and the VSB Judicial Nominations Committee.
She was recognized as a Leader in the Law by Virginia Lawyers Weekly and inducted as a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation.
Byrum previously chaired the Dean’s Roundtable for the former College of Arts and Sciences and remains active on the College of Science Roundtable. She served on the board of directors of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the President’s Advisory Committee, and the Economic Development Advisory Board and was a member of the Northern Virginia Regional Campaign Committee.
She was inducted into the Gateway Society for her leadership in the alumni association and her commitment to the future of Virginia Tech and was a recipient of the university’s 2009 Alumni Distinguished Service Award.
Joseph M. DeSimone (Class of 1990, chemistry)
Joseph M. DeSimone is the Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University and of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina.
He is currently on leave from both universities and is the CEO at Carbon3D in Silicon Valley.
An innovative polymer chemist, DeSimone has made breakthrough contributions in fluoropolymer synthesis, colloid science, nano-biomaterials, green chemistry, and most recently 3-D printing. He is the co-founder of several companies, and he has published more than 300 scientific articles and has more than 150 issued patents in his name, with more than 80 additional patents pending.
DeSimone is one of only a few individuals to be elected to all three U.S. National Academies: the Institute of Medicine (2014), the National Academy of Sciences (2012), and the National Academy of Engineering (2005). He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
A long-time member of the Department of Chemistry Advisory Council, he established an endowed scholarship in honor of his mentor, James McGrath, to support undergraduate students majoring in chemistry with an emphasis in polymer science.
Patricia M. Dove (Class of 1980, agronomy; Class of 1984, geological sciences)
One of the nation's preeminent geochemists, Patricia M. Dove has made major contributions to research in the biogeochemistry of Earth processes, the physical basis of biomineralization, and geochemical controls on geophysical properties.
She is particularly known for studies of biomineralization — the processes by which organisms grow minerals within tissues to produce skeletons and other structures. Their many functions include mechanical support, filtration, grinding, light harvesting, gravity sensing, and magnetic guidance.
The C.P. Miles Professor of Science and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences, her work is supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and others.
A recipient of numerous honors and awards, Dove was elected in 2012 to the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious scientific organization in the United States, and charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.
In addition, she is a recipient of the Clarke Medal and the Dana Medal, has twice received the U.S. Department of Energy Best University Research Award, and was named 2013 Virginia Scientist of the Year.
Dove is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, Mineralogical Society of America, Geochemical Society, and the European Association of Geochemists.
John P. Grotzinger (Class of 1985, geological sciences)
John P. Grotzinger is the chief scientist for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Mission and the Fletcher Jones Professor at the California Institute of Technology.
At NASA, he leads a team of 450 scientists studying Mars using the Curiosity rover in a $2.5 billion research program. Grotzinger was instrumental in using advanced geological techniques to interpret features documented by the earlier rovers Spirit and Opportunity, helping confirm evidence of liquid water on ancient Mars.
Grotzinger is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received more than two dozen honors and awards in his nearly 30-year career, including the Roy Chapman Andrews Explorer Award in 2013 and the Walcott Medal in 2007, which the National Academy of Sciences presents once every five years.
His work on the Curiosity project led Popular Mechanics to list him among its 10 Innovators Who Changed the World in 2013, and he was also awarded NASA’s Outstanding Public Leadership Medal in recognition of the success of the Curiosity rover mission.
He also received Virginia Tech’s 2014 Graduate Alumni Achievement Award.
T. Marshall Hahn Jr. (president emeritus, Virginia Tech)
T. Marshall Hahn came to Virginia Tech in 1954 as head of the Department of Physics, and in 1962, at age 35, he became Virginia Tech’s president, leading the university until 1975.
As president, Hahn engineered Virginia Tech’s evolution from a college to a major research university spurring record enrollment and unprecedented growth in the student body, degree programs, faculty, research, and physical plant.
Following his tenure as president, Hahn served as chairman and chief executive officer of Georgia Pacific from 1983 to 1993. He was named CEO of the Year for the Forest Products and Lumber Industry by The Wall Street Transcript for seven years. In addition, he was recognized as “Top 10 Best Executives: Big Business Category — The Gallagher Report” in 1986 and 1988.
Two academic buildings on the Virginia Tech campus carry his name, and his commitment to the university also includes contributions for the expansion of the horticulture gardens and the construction of a pavilion on the site named for his late wife, Peggy, in 2004.
The Basketball Practice Center carries the name of Hahn Hurst and is evidence of three generations of support by the Hahn family. Hahn is member of the President's Circle within Virginia Tech's Ut Prosim Society, and is a member of the university's Legacy Society.
Klaus C. Wiemer (Class of 1969, physics)
Klaus C. Wiemer most recently served as the chairman of Techulon, an entity created and sustained by Virginia Tech alumni, which is growing in prominence in the world of innovative investment and entrepreneurship.
Wiemer had an impressive career in the semiconductor industry, serving as president, chief executive officer, and director of Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing in the Republic of Singapore. He also was the first chief operating officer and president of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company in Taiwan, which was the world’s first computer chip contract manufacturing company.
Over the past 20 years, Wiemer served on numerous technology boards, in the United States and abroad, that specialized in fabless integrated circuits, discrete specialty semiconductor devises, and microelectronics manufacturing plants.
Wiemer was a member of the college’s Roundtable Advisory Board, as well as the Department of Physics Advisory Board. He established the Clayton D. Williams Graduate Fellowship in Theoretical Physics in honor of his mentor, Clayton D. Williams, associate professor emeritus of physics at Virginia Tech. Wiemer was a member of Virginia Tech’s Ut Prosim Society and Legacy Society.
Wiemer died Aug. 8, 2014, and is missed by his many friends and colleagues.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.