Robert Denton, the W. Thomas Rice Chair, a professor of communication, and the founding director of the School of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been conferred the title of  W. Thomas Rice Chair Emeritus and 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 1988, Denton is a noted scholar on media and politics, political communication, and presidential discourse and the author or editor of 33 books, the writer of 29 book chapters, and the writer of more than 80 scholarly articles.

Denton also is a widely recognized analyst of Virginia and U.S. politics for 30 years, having contributed to national, state, and local print, radio, broadcast, and cable television political news coverage, and served as host of public affairs programs on Blue Ridge Public Television.

Over his career, Denton’s work has been recognized with several honors and awards, including the Communicator of the Year by the Virginia Association of Communication Arts and Sciences. He also was the recipient of the Southern States Communication Association Michael M. Osborn Teacher-Scholar Award, the Southern States Communication Association Outreach Award, and the Carl Couch Center Director’s Service Award. He also was recognized for distinguished scholarship by the Political Communication Division of the Eastern Communication Association.

At Virginia Tech, he served the university and his college in several roles, notably as head of the Department of Communication from 1988-96 and again from 2009-22 and was the founding director when the department became a school in 2020. He also was the founding director of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Rice Center for Leader Development from 1997-2007 and served as a professor of practice in marketing in the Pamplin College of Business.

Denton was appointed to Virginia Tech’s Academy of Faculty Leadership to recognize his contributions through university service and received the President’s Award for Exemplary Service at Virginia State University.

He also served the Commonwealth of Virginia in gubernatorial appointments as a member of the Virginia State University Board of Visitors and as a member of the Virginia Foundation for Natural Resources Board of Directors.

Denton received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. from Purdue University.