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Turton named chair of chemical and biomedical engineering

A portrait of Richard Turton

Richard Turton has been named chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering.

Richard Turton, WVU Bolton Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at West Virginia University, has been named chair of the Department, effective July 1.


A member of the faculty since 1986, Turton has conducted extensive research in the area of process simulation of power plants and power technology. He serves as the director of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy’s AVESTAR® Center, a state-of-the-art training simulator that provides realistic, hands-on experience for operating clean energy systems in the smart grid era. He was a member of a research team that won an R&D 100 Award – a national award known as the “Oscar of innovation” – for the development of a virtual reality-based software that provides the energy industry with an unprecedented high-tech look inside the operation of power plants.

“I am very excited about taking on this leadership position and despite the financial belt tightening that has befallen the University in recent years I am confident that the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering has a positive and vibrant future,” said Turton. “I believe that my many years of service to the University as a tenured professor and more recently as chair of the Faculty Senate and as a member of the Board of Governors gives me a unique view of how the University operates and how our Department fits in to the big picture of both the Statler College and WVU as a whole.

“After 31 years of teaching and research, I feel that this is the right time for me to take on a leadership role in the Department and give back by mentoring young faculty and help steer the Department to a bright future,” Turton added.

“Dr. Turton has demonstrated the experience, knowledge and skill set to represent the Department and its educational and research programs very well,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Turton will replace Rakesh Gupta, whom Cilento praised for his “many years of hard work and dedication as Department chair.” Gupta, the George and Carolyn Berry Chair of Chemical Engineering, will remain a member of the faculty and will be on professional development leave for the 2018-19 academic year.



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