R. Michael Akers, head of the Department of Dairy Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, was recently reappointed as the Horace E. and Elizabeth F. Alphin Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The professorship was established in 1995 through the gifts of the Col. Horace E. Alphin, a member of the Virginia Tech Class of 1934, and his wife, Elizabeth, to further the scholarly endeavors in the area of agriculture and life sciences. The term of the professorship is five years.

Akers served as a research physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture before joining the dairy science faculty at Virginia Tech in 1981. He was promoted to full professor in 1992 and became head of the Department of Dairy Science in 2004. Under his leadership the department has reorganized and expanded in both faculty and resources.

Akers is an internationally renowned research scientist. He has received many national awards for research excellence, including the Agway Young Scientist Award, the American Dairy Science Association’s Borden Award, the American Association of Animal Science’s Animal Growth and Development Award, and naming as a Fellow of the American Dairy Science Association. He also received the Virginia Tech Alumni Research Award for Excellence.

He continues to make numerous contributions to the field through his scholarship. He has written two books and published nearly 200 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals or conference proceedings. He has provided valuable service to the profession as section editor for the Journal of Dairy Science, member of the editorial board of three journals, ad hoc reviewer for more than 15 scientific journals, and as a member of the American Dairy Science Association board of directors.

Akers earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in dairy science from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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