Virginia Tech's Ranga Pitchumani, the George R. Goodson Professor in Mechanical Engineering, received an email in January from his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, one of the world’s leading engineering universities. 

The academic institution selected Pitchumani to be the first member of his graduating class of 1986 to be recognized as a distinguished alumnus. The award recognizes alumni of IIT Bombay "who have distinguished themselves in their field of work and done the institute proud.”

Since earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from IIT Bombay, Pitchumani received his master's degree and Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University, and spent time at the University of Delaware and the University of Connecticut, before joining Virginia Tech in 2009. 

More recently, Pitchumani served in an invitational role as the chief sdcientist for the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative, where he charted bold national visions for the programs and set the science and technology directions for achieving cost-competitive solar energy and its integration into the electric grid.

Pitchumani is the director of the Advanced Materials and Technologies Laboratory where he and his team are involved in a broad range of research in the areas of advanced materials processing, advanced energy systems, energy storage, energy/water nexus, and fabrication of superhydrophobic coatings. 

He is the author of over 215 publications and the inventor on two patents or disclosures. He is an editor for Solar Energy and serves on the editorial boards of several journals in the fields of materials science and energy.

“I was excited and I feel honored to have been chosen for the award,” Pitchumani said. “There are many distinguished alumni of IIT Bombay all around the world, who have accomplished tremendous things in their careers; to be counted among them, and to be the first recipient of this honor from my graduating class, is quite humbling.”

Among others, Pitchumani joins notables such as Arun Netravali, the ninth president of Bell Labs; Victor Menezes, former CEO and chairman of Citibank; and Rajiv Gupta, chairman and CEO of Rohm and Haas Company, as recipients of IIT’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The award will be presented in March during the Institute’s Foundation Day celebrations.

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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