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For release: 09-29-04
Release #: 04-240  

Rex Geveden, Deputy Director of NASA's Marshall Center, receives 2004 Outstanding Alumnus of Kentucky Award

Photo description: Geveden

Rex Geveden, deputy director of the Marshall Center, has been selected as the 2004 Outstanding Alumnus of Kentucky. The Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education present the award, called the "OAK," every two years to a graduate of a Kentucky college or university who has achieved national stature and reputation. Geveden is a graduate of Murray State University.

Photo: Geveden (NASA/MSFC)


Rex Geveden, deputy director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has received the 2004 Outstanding Alumnus of Kentucky Award from the Kentucky Advocates for Higher Education.

The honor, commonly known as the "OAK" award, was presented Sept. 19 at the Kentucky Governor's Conference on Postsecondary Education Trusteeship in Bowling Green, Ky.

The higher education advocacy group presents the award every two years to a graduate of a Kentucky college or university who has achieved national stature and reputation in his or her career. The recipient must also exhibit a lifelong affection for, and attachment to, his or her alma mater and to Kentucky.

Geveden, a graduate of Murray State University in Murray, Ky., earned his bachelor's degree in physics in 1983 and his master's degree in physics in 1984. Murray State University's Alumni Association presented its 2004 Distinguished Alumnus Award to Geveden last spring.

A native of Mayfield, Ky., Geveden was named deputy director of the Marshall Center in July 2003, where he shares responsibility for one of NASA's largest field installations, which has more than 6,500 civil service and contract employees and a $2.3 billion annual budget. He previously served as deputy director of Marshall's Science Directorate, leading research and development projects in space science, materials science, biotechnology, Earth science and space optics.

He also led NASA's Gravity Probe B program, steering development of sophisticated hardware designed to test two features of Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. The hardware was successfully launched earlier this year from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. After four months of system checkouts and fine-tuning, one of the most sophisticated science instruments ever put in orbit began collecting science data Aug. 27.

Geveden also was project manager for several other successful efforts, including the Optical Transient Detector and Lightning Imaging Sensor Earth-orbiting satellites, which produced data for the world's first global map of lightning. He also served as chief engineer for the Waves in Space Plasmas project, a study that involved the measurement of the characteristic frequencies of plasma, the form of matter that comprises more than 99 percent of the visible universe.

As manager of the Microgravity Science and Applications Department at Marshall, Geveden led a team of 350 scientists in research to develop safer and more cost-effective materials for future missions and investigations into the reaction of chemicals in a microgravity environment. His organization delivered many of the early payloads to the International Space Station.

Geveden, who joined NASA in 1990, has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, awarded annually for notably outstanding leadership that has had a pronounced effect on the technical or administrative programs of NASA. He also earned the Silver Snoopy Award, which is presented for outstanding performance contributing to flight safety and mission success.

Geveden lives in Madison, Ala., with his wife, the former Gail Reddick of Bardwell, Ky. They have two children, Bridget and Jake, both attending college.

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