Robert Denton, Jr., Professor and former Director of the School of Communication and W. Thomas Rice Chair in the Pamplin College of Business, retired July 1 after 21 years as Head of the Department/School of Communication and 34 years at Virginia Tech.

Denton was hired in 1988 as Head of the Department of Communication; prior to this appointment, he worked at several major advertising agencies in New York and Chicago. He served as Head from 1988 to 1997 and again from 2009 to 2020, before becoming the founding director of the School of Communication. Under his leadership the communications groups grew from 300 to nearly 1,000 students, majors in sports media and analytics as well as advertising were introduced, and the first on-site studio was built.

During his career, Denton followed every Virginia gubernatorial candidate on the campaign trail and met every U.S. president from Jimmy Carter to Donald Trump. Since 1992 Denton has been a sought-after political analyst in the New River Valley, first with WSLS-TV and currently with WDBJ-7 and the Wheeler Radio Group.

Denton earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wake Forest University and his doctorate from Purdue University.