Robert D. Allen, a distinguished research staff member and senior manager of the Materials Discovery and Innovation Department at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, will receive the 2017 Graduate School Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

The Graduate School will present the award during the Graduate Commencement ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on May 11, in Cassell Coliseum on the Blacksburg campus.

Allen, who was awarded his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in 1985, leads the IBM Research Center’s chemical/materials research. He grew up in Sharon, Pennsylvania, and attended Gannon College in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. At Virginia Tech, he studied polymer chemistry under the direction of Professor James E. McGrath. His research focused on living anionic polymerization.

Allen joined IBM in 1985 and was introduced to the world of photoresists under the direction of C. Grant Willson. Allen was named an International Society for Optics and Photonics Fellow for his pioneering work in the development of 193nm photoresists. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, won the 2014 American Chemical Society (ACS) award in industrial polymer chemistry, and is a Fellow of ACS’s Polymer Division. He recently was elected to the Virginia Tech College of Science’s Hall of Distinction.  

The commencement website has a complete schedule of all departmental and college convocation ceremonies. Virginia Tech will offer live streaming video of both the Graduate School Commencement and University Commencement ceremonies from the university homepage.