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John W. (Jack) Boyd

B.S. Aerospace Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1942
M.S. Aeronautics and Physics, Stanford University, 1956
M.B.A, Stanford University, 1966

John W. Boyd has had the type of career that makes most engineers green with envy. He has rubbed elbows and directly worked with John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and Wally Schirra. Without his efforts and those of his co-workers, the United States would not have made it into space or to the moon, or beyond.

Boyd was raised in Danville, Va., and his interest in flight landed him at Virginia Tech as World War II was churning onward. He graduated at age 21 with a degree in aero-nautical engineering and, having never ventured far out of Virginia, sought a job at the federal Ames Aeronautical Laboratory in Mountain View, Calif. He started at Ames in 1947, and still is there today, employed as a senior adviser, center historian and ombudsman.

Throughout his time at Ames, Boyd worked on a wide variety of craft such as the F102 to the B-58, the Apollo, Mercury and Gemini missions, and the original planetary probes for Mars and Venus. In 1985, Boyd left NASA and government work to “retire,” but he didn’t sit still long. In 1993, he returned to NASA and established the Ames Aerospace Encounter, an education program for K-12 students and teachers. The program is renowned for its hands-on learning environment.

Select Awards and Recognition
Stanford Sloan Fellowship
NASA Exceptional Service Award
NASA Outstanding Leadership Award
NASA Equal Employment Opportunity Medal
Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive
NASA Distinguished Service Medal
The Army Command Medal
NASA Headquarters History Award
Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s Academy of Engineering Excellence