Richard E. Veilleux, professor of horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of 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 specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive an emeritus certificate from the university.

A member of the university community since 1981, Veilleux conducted genetic research on potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, tobacco, and orchids that contributed significantly to our knowledge of plant genetics and genomics. He developed unique strains of potatoes that facilitated the complete sequencing of the potato genome.

His work led to the publication of more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and many other research papers, reviews, and book chapters. He received funding to support his research in part from the National Science Foundation, USDA, BARD and Phillip Morris.

Veilleux was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach and conduct research at the University of Thessaloniki in Greece. He was the Julian H. Gary and Margaret S. Gary Professor in Horticulture at Virginia Tech from 2009 to 2018.

In the classroom, Veilleux introduced hundreds of undergraduate students to the principles and techniques of plant tissue culture and taught many graduate students the principles and techniques of plant biotechnology in courses on the genetics and breeding of horticultural crops and on plant tissue culture.

In addition, Veilleux guided 19 graduate students to the successful completion of a Ph.D. in horticulture and 22 graduate students to the completion of the master’s degree in horticulture. He served on many other graduate student committees.

As the interim head of the Department of Horticulture, Veilleux guided the merger of the department with the departments of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences and Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science into the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences.

He has been honored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with both the Excellence in Basic Research and Outstanding Graduate Mentor awards.

Veilleux received a bachelor's degree from Tufts University, a master's degree from the University of British Columbia, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. 

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