NASA administrator to speak at TTU's Fall 2005 Commencement

A Tennessee Tech University alumnus with the expertise and experience to encourage this fall's graduates to reach for the stars will be the featured speaker at commencement exercises at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 17, in Hooper Eblen Center.

Charles B. Chitwood, deputy director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and a 1982 TTU physics graduate, will address more than 600 graduates and their family and friends.

Chitwood shares management responsibilities for managing one of NASA's largest field installations that includes more than 6,500 civil service and contract employees and a $2.3 billion annual budget. He joined NASA at the Huntsville, Ala., center in 2004.

As a TTU student, Chitwood's academic performance foreshadowed his future success as a professional. In 1979, he was named a Benwood Fellow, which provided him with a competitively awarded full academic scholarship. As a senior in 1982, he received TTU's most prestigious student honor — the Derryberry Award — and the Physics Award in recognition of outstanding scholarship.

After graduation, Chitwood worked as a nuclear physics research assistant at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University. He also held several management and leadership positions with Coleman Research Corp. in Huntsville. His positions included working as the Ground Based Elements System Simulation Development program manager, where he managed a $23.5 million, five-year supercomputer software development effort.

Prior to joining NASA, Chitwood served on the board of directors for the Schafer Corp. and led its systems engineering and integration division. As general manager for Schafer's Huntsville operation, he led development of the company's system, software, and specialty engineering processes.

His work included miniature interceptor, sensor and instrument technology and system development for the Missile Defense Agency under the Department of Defense in Washington. His worked focused on development of systems to provide defense against a missile attack.

He has authored more than 20 articles for peer-reviewed scientific journals on basic research in high energy, heavy ion nuclear physics.

Chitwood and his wife, Heidi, and their three children, Luke, Grace and Ben, reside in Huntsville.

Students graduating from Tennessee Tech this fall hail from 16 states including Tennessee, 65 Tennessee counties and 11 foreign countries. They represent 37 undergraduate fields of study and 18 graduate fields. Following fall commencement, Tennessee Tech will have granted more than 57,000 degrees.
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