Charles W. Steger, president emeritus of Virginia Tech, has been appointed to a three-year term as a member of the Division of Earth and Life Studies (DELS) committee of the National Academy of Sciences. This represents one of the most significant honors given to an educator in the United States.

Steger, Virginia Tech's president from 2001 to 2014, is a three-time graduate of the university where he studied architecture and earned his Ph.D. in engineering. The Biocomplexity Institute's Blacksburg headquarters was named in his honor in November of 2016.

Steger's honor follows closely on the heels of another Biocomplexity Institute affiliate who was named to the National Academy's Social and Behavioral Sciences for National Security Committee. Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory Director Sallie Keller helped chair the national summit that kicked off this committee's activities in October of 2016.

The prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide nonpartisan, objective guidance for decision makers on pressing issues and a wide array of complex policy questions.

“The work of the Academies is vital to our nation, providing proven leadership in the ability to help shape policy, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering and medicine.” said Steger. “I look forward to serving the Division of Earth and Life Studies committee.”

Steger also serves as executive director of the university’s Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience (GFURR), where he continues to lead Virginia Tech and partner organizations in developing an expanded knowledge base on infrastructural resilience. He currently serves the Biocomplexity Institute as a distinguished fellow professor.

Membership in the National Academies is one of the highest honors afforded to scientists and engineers. Past members include Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell.

“Dr. Charles Steger will help our division carry out its mission of providing independent objective advice on some of the most critical challenges facing the nation and the world—from climate change to food and water security to environmental health, said Gregory Symmes, executive director, division on earth and life studies at the National Academies. “It’s my privilege to welcome Dr. Steger to the committee.” 

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was founded on March 3, 1863, at the height of the Civil War.

Under the authority of its charter, the National Academy of Sciences established the National Academy of Engineering in 1964 and the Institute of Medicine in 1970 (which became the National Academy of Medicine in 2015). Much like the National Academy of Sciences, each of these organizations consists of members elected by peers in recognition of distinguished achievement in their respective fields.

Editor's note: this story was adapted from a VT News press release written by Bill Foy.

Published by Dan Rosplock, March 22, 2017
Tags: Awards  National Security