In Memoriam

Listing includes notices shared with the university between June 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2017.



Michael A. Barnes, professor emeritus of dairy science in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, died Oct. 10, 2021. Barnes taught numerous undergraduate courses. He served as an academic advisor and and longtime advisor to the college’s Dairy Club. Barnes also coached the Dairy Cattle Judging Team, which won four national championships.

Barbara Sutton Cowles, associate director of Virginia Tech’s Honors College and member of the university community from 1990-2008, died on Aug. 17, 2021. Cowles won the Golden Key Mid-Atlantic Region Advisor of the Year in 1994 and the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Advising in 2007.

Donald A. Drapeau, professor of theatre arts, died Nov. 18, 2021. Drapeau led the Department of Theatre Arts at Virginia Tech for more than 30 years. He served as president of the National Association of Schools of Theatre, president of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, and president of the Virginia Theatre Association and was an active consultant and adjudicator for countless area high schools and colleges. He was inducted into the prestigious College Fellows of the American Theatre.

Robert Heller, professor emeritus of biomedical engineering and mechanics in the College of Engineering, died on Nov. 3, 2021. Heller joined Virginia Tech’s faculty in 1967. He served as the J. Frank Maher Professor Emeritus, and his research interests included elastic behavior of structures, fatigue, reliability, and safety of structures and probabilistic mechanics.

James Francis Herndon, a professor emeritus of political science at Virginia Tech, died on Nov. 4, 2021. Herndon taught political science at Virginia Tech from 1967 to his retirement in 1994.

Antoine Hobeika, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering, died on Sept. 20, 2021. Hobeika served at Virginia Tech for 43 years, teaching courses in transportation infrastructure and systems engineering before retiring in 2016. He was the founding director of the Virginia Tech Center for Transportation Research, now known as the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

David S. Lindsay, professor of parasitology at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, died Nov. 17, 2021. Lindsay taught parasitology to graduate and undergraduate students for 24 years before retiring in 2021. Before joining the faculty at Virginia Tech, he was a senior research fellow at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Reginald Glennis Mitchiner, a professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech, died Sept. 5, 2021. Mitchiner taught for more than 20 years at Virginia Tech, working with more than 7,000 students and pioneering technology across the campus. His mentorship of a student group yielded the first U.S. patent in Virginia Tech history awarded to such a group. He also helped to establish the Computer-Aided Engineering Design Program, and was a member of the Virginia Tech College of Engineering committee for the personal computer initiative, pressing the expansion of computers available to students in the late 1980s.

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