Space Shuttle Pilot Andrew Allen to speak at TTU Fall CommencementA veteran of three Space Shuttle missions, Andrew M. Allen, will launch 660 Tennessee Tech University fall graduates into their futures with his featured address at commencement on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m. in TTU's Hooper Eblen Center.
As the associate program manager for the United Space Alliance Ground Operations at Kennedy Space Center, Allen directs the integration of all Space Shuttle activities. He also manages the operations of the facility and the more than 4,000 personnel required to process the shuttle from landing to launch.
Prior to accepting his present position, Allen served as deputy associate program manager, as director of Kennedy Space Center's Technical Operations, and as program manager for Space Shuttle Development in Houston, Texas.
A NASA astronaut for 10 years, Allen has flown more than 900 hours in space on three missions, as a pilot on two and as a commander on one. He served more than 20 years in the United States Marine Corps, assigned to various fighter squadrons. He graduated from Naval Fighter Weapons School, popularly know as TOPGUN, and as a graduate of Navy Test Pilot School, he logged more than 6,000 hours in more than 30 different aircraft.
Allen's awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
A graduate of Villanova University in mechanical engineering, Allen has a special Tennessee Tech connection. He is married to a niece of TTU President Bob Bell. He has also served as president of U.S. FIRST, a foundation dedicated to generating interest in math and science careers in America's youth. Tennessee Tech annually hosts the regional FIRST LEGO league competition.Students graduating from Tennessee Tech this fall hail from 19 states including Tennessee, 68 Tennessee counties and 13 foreign countries. They represent 38 undergraduate fields of study and 15 graduate fields. Following spring commencement, Tennessee Tech will have granted more than 50,000 degrees.