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Professor Robert C. Borden

Bob Borden, P.E. and Ph.D., joined NC State as an assistant professor in 1986 and rose to the rank of professor before retiring in 2013.  Before joining the university, he worked in local government and private practice. He is a diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers. During his 27 years at NC State, Borden taught courses in hydraulics, hydrology, groundwater hydraulics, groundwater contaminant transport, and senior design courses in water resources and environmental engineering. He served as primary advisor and mentor to 51 master’s, 14 Ph.D., and three post-doctoral students at NC State. 

The primary focus of his research has been on the fate, transport and remediation of organic and inorganic pollutants in the subsurface. This included laboratory studies to better understand the governing chemical and biological processes, field  work at hazardous waste sites to document these processes under in-situ conditions, and model development to mathematically describe the interactions of physical, chemical and biological processes on the natural and enhanced degradation of a wide variety of pollutants. Early work focused on the development of Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) to cost-effectively manage groundwater contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons and fuel additives. Borden and his students later developed processes for enhancing the anaerobic biodegradation of difficult to degrade pollutants (chlorinated solvents, perchlorate, explosives and acid mine drainage) using emulsified vegetable oil (EVO), colloidal pH buffers, lignin and crude glycerol. These patented technologies have now been successfully applied to cleanup polluted groundwater at thousands of hazardous waste sites worldwide. 

A major objective of Borden’s career has been to translate academic research into practice. Results of his work have been shared with the scientific and professional community through more than 120 journal articles, book chapters and symposium proceedings; five patents; and hundreds of symposium presentations, short courses and webinars. To accelerate transfer of current research to the user community, he founded and served as the initial editor-in-chief. Borden has received multiple awards for his research and extension activities including the 2013 NC State Alumni Association Outstanding Extension and Outreach Award and the 2012 Brown and Caldwell Lifetime Achievement award for contributions toward the science and practice of subsurface remediation.

“Bob and his graduate students at NC State developed the scientific and engineering foundation for a series of technologies that Solutions-IES, EOS Remediation, and many other firms have used to restore contaminated groundwater at thousands of sites worldwide,” said Ann Borden, CEO, president and founder of Solutions-IES and EOS Remediation. “I want to continue this legacy and help exceptional graduate students develop the knowledge and experience to protect and restore our air, water and soil to create a healthy environment for future generations. However, without offering strong financial compensation to these students, NC State may not be able to attract the best candidates. We want students with exceptional capabilities to have the financial resources to achieve their goals, making the earth better for us and future generations.

“Bob and I feel strongly that a fellowship to NC State will help to attract exceptional students. My father had to leave school in the third grade to support his family which enabled his siblings to graduate from high school. His thirst for knowledge instilled in me a desire to continue my education. However, it was only through financial support that I was able to complete my graduate education. Although this was years ago, the universities were in competition and offered compensation packages to recruit the best candidates. Like most students, I choose the schools that offered the best financial packages. We want strong financial incentives for others to attend NC State. 

“NC State is an outstanding university. We have seen how the Environmental Engineering program in CCEE has steadily improved over the years and has the potential to be one of the top programs in the U.S. Our direct experience with NC State has helped us develop professionally and succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy. Even more importantly, the relationships we developed with students and faculty at NC State have enriched our lives both professionally and personally. We want to provide this opportunity to outstanding candidates who will continue Bob’s legacy to provide a clean environment for the future.”

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