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Dr. Preston Durrill, undergraduate advisor and adjunct professor for the Department of Chemical Engineering, has retired after 35 years of teaching at Virginia Tech.

Durrill previously retired in 2002 from Radford University where he taught chemistry for 37 years. In addition to his teaching duties while at Radford, in 1983 he began teaching at Virginia Tech in the Chemical Engineering Unit Operations Laboratory, a six-week summer laboratory experience for rising seniors.

In 2004, he took on additional duties in the Department of Chemical Engineering by teaching the introductory Mass and Energy Balances course to sophomores and by serving as an undergraduate academic advisor. That same year, Durrill also began teaching General Chemistry I and II to hundreds of freshmen in the Department of Chemistry.

A favorite among ChE students, Durrill received the Faculty Appreciation Day Students’ Choice Award from the Virginia Tech Student Alumni Associates in 2005, 2006, and from 2008-2015. The quality of his teaching was widely recognized. He twice received Virginia Tech’s Sporn Award for excellence in teaching introductory subjects, and the William E. Wine Award for a history of university teaching excellence. He was also a member of the VT Academy of Teaching Excellence.

Durrill received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and a master's degree in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech in 1966.

We wish Professor Durrill the best in his retirement!

Preston Durrill Scholarship Fund

To honor Dr. Durrill's legacy, we have established a scholarship fund in his name, the Preston Durrill Scholarship Fund. Contributions to the scholarship will be awarded to deserving students annually.

Give to the Preston Durrill Scholarship Fund


Share Memories and Well Wishes

We would love to hear from you! Join us in wishing Professor Durrill well in his retirement. Use the survey link below to share your memories and well wishes.

Memories and Well Wishes for Professor Durrill

Interviews with Professor Durill

Chemical engineering Ph.D. student, Ethan Smith, hosts and produces the podcast Life, Experienced as a way "to both promote oral history and storytelling and to highlight fascinating tales from the human experience". Smith featured Professor Durrill in a two part interview in the fall of 2018.

From Life, Experienced: "For Episodes 10 and 11 of Season 1 of Life, Experienced, I had the privilege of interviewing Preston Durrill. As you’ll learn from the episodes, Preston has been a teaching professor in chemistry and chemical engineering at two major universities (Radford University and Virginia Tech) for over 40 years. He recently retired from his position at Virginia Tech, but not before sitting down with me to recount his own educational experiences and how they motivated his approach to teaching."

Visit Life, Experienced here.