Jeffrey E. Carr July 16, 1993
RELEASE: 93-056 Embargoed until 3:30 p.m. CDT
JSC DIRECTOR COHEN ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Aaron Cohen announced today that he has accepted appointment as the Zachry Professor of Engineering at his alma mater, Texas A&M; University, and will retire as Director of the Johnson Space Center effective August 20th to assume his engineering faculty duties when the fall term opens at the end of August.
Paul J. Weitz, Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center, will become Acting Director at Cohen's departure.
Cohen culminates a career with the government of more than 33 years of distinguished service, including two years of commissioned service with the U.S. Army. He came to NASA in 1962 and served in key leadership roles in the Apollo Program, where his efforts were critical to the successes of all six U.S. lunar landings. He subsequently served as the Manager for the Space Shuttle orbiter, directing the design, development, production and initial flight testing of the orbiter.
Cohen was made responsible for all engineering and research at the Johnson Space Center following the successful completion of the Space Shuttle orbital flight tests, assuming his present responsibilities as Director of the Johnson Space Center in 1986. In March of 1992 until March of 1993, he served as Acting Deputy Administrator of NASA.
Dan Goldin, the NASA Administrator, said of Cohen, "Aaron represents all of the finest you could hope for in a government servant. His career and his accomplishments speak for themselves. He provides a benchmark. He has brought technical excellence, integrity, dedication and leadership to the Johnson Space Center and NASA. His career serves as an example to us all, and he leaves behind a lasting legacy.
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"I know my fellow NASA employees join me in saying we will sorely miss him and his wise counsel and advice. Aaron can take great pride in his past achievements as he now takes on the challenge of an academic career. We all wish him well as he returns to Texas A&M.; I know his new career will be one that is equally marked by great accomplishments and dedicated service," Goldin said.
Goldin announced that Cohen will serve as a Special Consultant to the Administrator on human space flight as well as research and technology. "Even though Aaron will be involved with his duties at Texas A&M;, he has agreed to continue to assist NASA in answering the challenges that lie ahead. His continuing involvement will allow us to take advantage of his tremendous experience, knowledge and expertise. Both Texas A&M; and NASA can continue to benefit from the involvement of one of NASA's finest managers and engineers," said Goldin.
Dr. Herbert H. Richardson, chancellor of the Texas A&M; University System and Dr. Kenneth L. Peddicord, interim dean of the College of Engineering, expressed pleasure that Cohen's extensive experience with the U.S. space program now would be
applied to the University's programs. "As a leader in the space program for more than 3 decades, his unparalleled scientific and programmatic experience will be a gold mine for our students," Richardson said. Peddicord noted that Cohen plans to develop multidisciplinary courses based on his NASA background aimed at both undergraduate and graduate students, and said, "we're thrilled that Mr. Cohen and his vast experiences are coming to the faculty and students at Texas A&M.;"
In announcing his plans Cohen said, "I am leaving with a great sense of accomplishment, but also with an enormous feeling of nostalgia. I have had the privilege of working with the giants of our profession, and I have had the good fortune
to see future giants in the making. I am confident our nation's future space endeavors will be in good hands, and I look forward to helping Texas A&M; educate our nation's future engineers."
Cohen's many honors include the highest award for senior Federal executives, the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive (1982 and 1988) and he has three times been the recipient of NASA's highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M;, recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from Stevens Institute of Technology and from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and recipient of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Medal.
Cohen received his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M; in 1952, and his Master's degree in Applied Mathematics from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1958. He and his wife, Ruth, have three married children and
seven grand children.
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