Donald Baird named Alexander F. Giacco Professor of Chemical Engineering

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 10, 2009 – Donald G. Baird, professor of chemical engineering at Virginia Tech has been named the Alexander F. Giacco Professor of Chemical Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Alexander F. Giacco professorship is funded through the Alexander F. Giacco Endowed Presidential Chair Fund, which was initiated by a donation from Hercules Inc. to honor the many contributions to business and education by Alexander F. Giacco, former president of Hercules and a 1942 alumnus of the department of chemical engineering.

Baird is internationally known for his expertise, research, and teaching in the field of polymer rheology and its application to polymer, biopolymer, and polymer composite processing. His research utilizes both theoretical and experimental tools, and he continues to find ways to apply these tools to new areas of research, including fuel cells and bio-materials.

During the past 31 years, he has been the principal or co-principal investigator on research funding totaling more than $33 million.

Baird has authored more than 153 peer-reviewed publications, including four major review articles, 107 refereed preprints, 43 other publications, 10 book chapters, and a major textbook.

He is active in many major technical societies and has served on the executive committees of several professional organizations. He has received numerous awards for both his research and teaching, including the International Award from the Society of Plastics Engineering (the highest sward presented by the society), the Jack Breslin Award from Michigan State University, the Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the DuPont Young Faculty Award.

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.