Thomas GardnerAlumni Distinguished Professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The emeritus title may be conferred on retired professors, associate professors, and administrative officers who are specially recommended to the board by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands in recognition of exemplary service to the university. Nominated individuals who are approved by the board receive a copy of the resolution and a certificate of appreciation.

A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1982, Gardner made significant contributions to the study of American poetry, including the works of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, and to the lyric essay through his own collections, Poverty Creek Journal, Sundays, and Lyric Theology. He has written nine books, 27 essays, and numerous reviews and review essays.

In 2003, Gardner received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the commonwealth's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities. In 2005, he was named the Clifford A. Cutchins, III Professor before he became an Alumni Distinguished Professor in 2010. He also was the recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Sturm Award for Outstanding Faculty Research in 2021, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies at the University of Helsinki.

In the classroom, Gardner taught a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses ranging across the English curriculum, earning him the university’s William E. Wine Award. He was the advisor to many master’s degree and Ph.D. students and helped them develop successful careers in both academic and industrial settings.

Gardner received his bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University, a master’s degree from Syracuse University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.