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William Starnes Jr.

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Starnes is considered to be the world’s leading expert in the chemistry of vinyl plastics, particularly poly (vinyl chloride) (PVC), one of the most common plastics in commercial products. 

In 1989 he became the first Floyd Dewey Gottwald Sr., Professor of Chemistry at the College of William and Mary. 

Prior to his career in academia, he spent nearly 25 years in industry, at Esso research and engineering (now Exxon Mobile) and AT&T Bell Laboratories. Although he retired to professor emeritus in 2006, he has continued his groundbreaking work in polymers. 

A second generation Hokie, Starnes is an ardent supporter of the university and college having served on the Department of Chemistry Advisory Council since its inception. 

He has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Vinyl and Additive Technology and on the editorial boards of several other prestigious journals. 

In 2008 he became the only scientist to be a charter inductee into the Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame.