NASA Names New Stennis Space Center Director

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2003

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe announced today the appointment of U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Q. Donaldson, V as the Director, John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC), Miss., effective January 5, 2004.

"Admiral Donaldson is an experienced leader and manager," Administrator O'Keefe said. "He comes to us with a great background in communications, propulsion, Earth observation sciences and remote sensing. Combined with his leadership and management abilities, honed in the naval service, and his record in safety and quality assurance, Tom is a great addition to the One-NASA team."

Donaldson was the Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC), one of the 30 agencies onsite as part of the "federal city" at SSC. He was selected for rear admiral (lower half) in February 2000 and took command of NMOC in November 2000. In April 2001, he was designated Hydrographer of the Navy by the Chief of Naval Operations, representing U.S. naval interests internationally.

"No stranger to the Stennis community, Tom Donaldson will bring a fresh perspective to the wide range of tasks at the Center, from Earth Sciences to rocket testing," said NASA's Associate Administrator, Office of Space Flight William Readdy. "Tom will be a huge asset for our return to flight efforts. I am confident he will continue the Stennis legacy for accurate testing, innovation and aerospace leadership," Readdy said.

The deputy director at Stennis, Michael Rudolphi, has been interim director since May 2003. Rudolphi will move to the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., where he will serve as manager of the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office.

"Rudy did a terrific job at Stennis, and he will be a tremendous addition to the Marshall team. His experience within NASA, his time as interim director at Stennis, and his extraordinary leadership during the Columbia recovery effort in East Texas, will greatly benefit our return to flight efforts," Administrator O'Keefe said.

Donaldson graduated in 1975 from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in Physical Oceanography and Meteorology from the Naval Academy and a Master of Science degree in National Strategic Studies from the National War College, Washington.

His personal awards include two Legions of Merit, three Meritorious Service Medals and three Navy Commendation Medals. He also received four Meritorious Unit Commendations, which represent exceptional teamwork and effort at two shore commands and two ship commands.

He is married, and he and his wife, Debbie, have three children.

For more information about the Stennis Space Center on the Internet, visit:

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