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Lockheed Martin Vice President to Speak at Embry-Riddle Commencement
Bill Parsons is Former Director of Kennedy Space Center
Daytona Beach, Fla., November 24, 2008
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will hold commencement ceremonies for 359 students Monday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m. in the Ocean Center, Daytona Beach. The guest speaker is Bill Parsons, vice president of Strategic Space Initiatives for Lockheed Martin Mission Services. He will receive the Distinguished Speaker Award in recognition of his professional accomplishments and national stature.
In his role at Lockheed Martin Mission Services, based in Titusville, Fla., Parsons is responsible for formulating his division’s strategy on civil and defense space programs.
Before joining Lockheed Martin in 2008, he was the director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC). In other key positions he served as deputy director of KSC, director of NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, shuttle program manager for return to flight after the Columbia tragedy, and deputy director of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC).
Starting in 1990, he held numerous positions in the KSC Shuttle Operations Directorate, including launch site support manager, shuttle payload flow manager, and shuttle flow director. Through the efforts of the Space Station Hardware Integration Office, which he helped create in 1994, the United States made its first hardware contribution to the International Space Station. Parsons was named chief of operations of Stennis Space Center’s Propulsion Test Directorate in 1997, director of the JSC Center Operations and Support Directorate in 1998, and director of Stennis Space Center in 2002.
Appointed the space shuttle program manager in 2003, he was in charge of return-to-flight activities and played a key role in the success of the Discovery STS-114 mission. Soon afterward, Parsons returned to Stennis Space Center to supervise Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts there and at the Michoud Assembly Facility, leading to his second appointment as director of Stennis Space Center.
Parsons has received numerous honors, including the Presidential Rank Award (Meritorious Executive); NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal and Distinguished Service Medal; the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement; and the Silver Snoopy, awarded by astronauts for outstanding performance in flight safety and mission success.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Mississippi and has received the school’s Engineering Alumnus of the Year Award. He earned a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Central Florida and later was named a UCF Alumnus of the Year.
Commencement Weekend includes the following events:
Friday, Dec. 12
Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
9 a.m., in front of the ROTC Center, Embry-Riddle
The ceremony will be followed by a reception on the second floor of the ROTC Center.
Saturday, Dec. 13
Family and Friends Day at Daytona Lagoon
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Graduating students and their guests can enjoy a fun afternoon at Daytona Beach’s premier water park. Tickets, which should be purchased at the door, are $11.99 for a three-activity ticket, $17.99 for a five-activity ticket, and $21.99 for two hours of unlimited activities, including go-karts, laser tag, a rock wall, a carousel, and the Phoenix thrill ride.
Sunday, Dec. 14
Air Force ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
10 a.m., Miller Instructional Center auditorium, Embry-Riddle
Five students will be commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force. Preceding the ceremony, refreshments will be served at 9 a.m. in the Miller Center atrium.
1-3 p.m., Tours begin at the Flight Deck in the John Paul Riddle Student Center, Embry-Riddle
Students will guide their family and friends on a special tour around campus, visiting key locations that have made their university experience an incredible journey. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be provided.
Master’s Hooding Ceremony
4 p.m., Miller Instructional Center auditorium, Embry-Riddle
This ceremony for graduate students of Embry-Riddle’s four colleges will be followed by a reception for the graduates and their guests in the College of Aviation atrium.
Alumni Welcome Reception
6 p.m., Daytona USA at Daytona International Speedway
Each graduate and up to four guests may enjoy free, unlimited use of all Daytona USA attractions, including Acceleration Alley, Dream Laps, and Speedplay. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. New alumni should RSVP at www.eraualumni.org before the event to receive a special leather portfolio gift at the reception. Call (386) 226-6155 for more information.
7 p.m., Embry-Riddle Interfaith Chapel
Monday, Dec. 15
Naval ROTC Commissioning Ceremony
2:30 p.m., College of Aviation atrium, Embry-Riddle
Six graduating midshipmen will be commissioned as ensigns in the U.S. Navy, and one staff sergeant will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 40 baccalaureate, master's and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit http://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.