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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    CONTACT: John Blacksten

    Distinguished Guests Celebrated Aerospace Leaders at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala

    DanDumbacher-and-MikeGriffin-Gala2018May 14, 2018 – Reston, Va. – From honoring the top innovators in aerospace to passing the gavel to a new president, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala on May 2 covered a lot of ground.

    The gala celebrated 22 newly elected Fellows, three Honorary Fellows, and seven premier award winners. (Image Right: AIAA Executive Director Dan Dumbacher with AIAA Past President Michael Griffin)

    In addition to the more than 350 members of the aerospace industry and their guests, former NASA Administrator, and now Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Mike Griffin attended the event at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Also, in attendance was Ellen Stofan, former NASA Chief Scientist, who recently began her tenure as the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. 


    Jim-MaserIt was an opportunity to give hard work its due, noted Jim Maser on the last night of his two-year term as AIAA president before he introduced the 2018 Class of Fellows.

    “We usually aren’t used to the spotlight,” he said. “You have the sports people you cheer for…but you don’t usually hear ‘great calculation’ or ‘go get it with that theorem’… so it’s great to celebrate that.” (Image Left: AIAA President Jim Maser provides opening remarks, on the last night of his two-year term as AIAA President)

    Maser also officially handed the gavel to AIAA’s new president John Langford. Maser is now the chairman of the AIAA Foundation.

    “I want to thank all of the volunteers in AIAA,” Maser said. “It’s amazing the amount of work they put in, considering they have families, full-time jobs, and the effort that goes in and the passion for advancing the arts and sciences of aerospace. If you haven’t been a volunteer, I would encourage you to do so.”

    Abramson-alone-on-stageWinners warmly thanked their families, colleagues and AIAA—none more effectively than Honorary Fellow H. Norman Abramson, retired executive vice president of Southwest Research Institute and an AIAA member since 1947.
    (Image Left: AIAA Honorary Fellow H. Norman Abramson)

    “One person joined with me for my entire professional life,” Abramson said. “She enjoyed very much the social events that went with an active professional life. She traveled with me to many places. She always supported me, and she took a special joy in whatever achievements or recognitions I received. She’s here with us tonight, in spirit.”


    AudienceThe winners of the premier awards (and video links) are:
    (Image Right: Gala 2018 attendees watch the ceremony)

    Reception2Honorary Fellow is the highest distinction conferred by AIAA and recognizes preeminent individuals who have had long and highly contributory careers in aerospace and who embody the highest possible standards in aeronautics and astronautics.
    (Image Right: Gala 2018 attendees enjoy the reception)

    The 2018 Honorary Fellows are:

    • H. Norman Abramson, Southwest Research Institute (retired)
    • Charles Elachi, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
    • Antony Jameson, Stanford University

    FellowsAIAA confers the distinction of Fellow upon individuals in recognition of their notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences or technology of aeronautics and astronautics. (Image Left: Class of 2018 AIAA Fellows)

    The 2018 Fellows are:

    • Nancy F. Andersen, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
    • Supriya Banerjee, FAMES
    • Olivier A. Bauchau, University of Maryland
    • Marty K. Bradley, The Boeing Company
    • Edward L. Burnett, Lockheed Martin Corporation
    • Carissa B. Christensen, Bryce Space and Technology, LLC
    • Jonathan E. Cooper, University of Bristol
    • James E. Graf, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    • Michael A. Hamel, Lockheed Martin Corporation
    • Vlad J. Hruby, Busek Co. Inc.
    • Parimal H. Kopardekar, NASA Ames Research Center
    • Eugene Lavretsky, The Boeing Company
    • Sankaran Mahadevan, Vanderbilt University
    • Mark D. Maughmer, Pennsylvania State University
    • Robert E. Meyerson, Blue Origin LLC
    • Dava Newman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Robert W. Pitz, Vanderbilt University
    • Stephen A. Rizzi, NASA Langley Research Center
    • Hannes G. Ross, IBR Aeronautical Consulting; EADS Military Aircraft (retired)
    • Robie I. Samanta Roy, Lockheed Martin Corporation
    • Steven P. Schneider, Purdue University
    • Steven D. Young, NASA Langley Research Center


    Video of Full Event

    Be sure to attend the next Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala on May 15, 2019.  For more information about nominating someone for an award,  please contact  Patricia Carr, also has more information.

    About AIAA
    The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 85 countries, and 95 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.


    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    12700 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200, Reston, VA 20191-5807
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551