Virginia Tech’s Allen Harper honored with emeritus status

Published 8:59 am Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dr. Allen Harper points to the inner organs of a pig to demonstrate how it all works together. -- CAIN MADDEN | THE TIDEWATER NEWS

Dr. Allen Harper points to the inner organs of a pig to demonstrate how it all works together. — CAIN MADDEN | THE TIDEWATER NEWS

BLACKSBURG–Allen Harper of Franklin, professor of animal and poultry science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ( at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of “professor emeritus” by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The title of emeritus may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board of visitors by Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board of visitors receive an emeritus certificate from the university.

“I’m very pleased to get that,” said Harper, who received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. “It’s not that unusual for faculty members who have been involved with the university for some time to be given that distinction. I’m very proud. I’m very proud of my time with Virginia Tech, both early in my career and as a faculty member.”

The certification also allows him to share his insights with graduate students if the need or desire arised.

“It makes those opportunities more smoother,” he added.

Harper has been a member of the Virginia Tech community since 1982, when he began his career as a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent. After receiving his doctoral degree in 1992, he joined the faculty as an Extension animal scientist. He served as director of the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center from 2008 until his retirement last month.

He was the principal or co-principal investigator on more than 80 competitive and noncompetitive grants and contracts that focused on swine nutrition, breeder swine performance, and carcass disposal. He wrote or co-wrote more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles, extension publications and abstracts.

Harper served as an officer in four academic or professional associations. During his career, he received the Virginia Agribusiness Council Extension Service Award, the American Society of Animal Science Southern Section Extension Award, and the Virginia Pork Industry Association Service Award.

He is teaching biology and chemistry on a part-time basis at Southampton Academy in Courtland.

“I’m enjoying it,” Harper said. “My hat is off to every high school, middle and elementary school teacher. I have even more respect for them.”