Last Thursday, the Dee Howard Foundation held the fourth annual San Antonio Aviation and Aerospace Hall of Fame Dinner at GDC Technics. San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez emceed the event filled with a record-breaking 700+ attendees. Texas A&M University Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Professor Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, a five-time shuttle astronaut, was the keynote speaker for the evening. Dr. Dunbar’s luminous career began with support from teachers who encouraged her to develop her talents in math and engineering.
The Dee Howard Foundation honored two local educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM): Lisa Rollins from Cody Elementary School in Northside ISD, and Angela Ortiz Pichardo from Bob Hope Elementary in Southwest ISD. Dr. Joann Browning, Dean of the College of Engineering at UTSA, announced the launch of an aerospace engineering certificate program beginning the fall of 2019.
The 2019 hall of fame honorees included Earl and Tom Slick, founders of the largest all-cargo airline in the U.S., Slick Airways. Though the airline ceased operations in 1966, the Slick brothers left their mark on San Antonio with Tom Slick founding Southwest Research Institute and Texas Biomedical Research Institute.
NASA Astronaut Lt. Col. Francis (Dick) Scobee, (USAF Retired) and Commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger was also inducted into the San Antonio Aviation and Aerospace Hall of Fame last week. Scobee was stationed at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, where he met his wife. After receiving his wings, he completed several assignments including a combat tour in Vietnam. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School in 1972 and was selected as an astronaut in 1978. He and the entire crew died on January 28, 1986, when Challenger exploded after launch. He received many honors throughout his career, including the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross, two NASA Exceptional Service Medals, and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
The final inductee was General Mark A. Welsh III (USAF Retired), who was born and raised in San Antonio and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy before entering in the Air Force in 1976. General Welsh rose through the Air Force ranks, serving as Chief of Staff of the Air Force in August 2012 before retiring in 2016. He has a Master of Science degree from Webster University, and completed post graduate studies at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, and Johns Hopkins University. General Welsh currently serves as Dean and Holder of the Edward & Howard Kruse Endowed Chair, and Executive Professor of The Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University.
The Hall of Fame Dinner started in 2016 by Chair of the Dee Howard Foundation, Wayne Fagan, along with other partners to nurture future generations of aviation and aerospace innovators. For more information on the Hall of Fame, visit the Dee Howard Foundation’s website.