Astronaut Kent Rominger Recipient of Colorado State University’s Most Distinguished Alumni Award

Colorado State University’s Alumni Association will bestow its highest honor upon a former "top gun" pilot and current space shuttle commander for his exceptional support and commitment to the university, the Fort Collins community and the entire nation.

NASA Capt. Kent Rominger will receive the William E. Morgan Alumni Achievement Award at the university’s Distinguished Alumni Awards Program on April 26. The award is presented to alumni who have attained extraordinary distinction and success at the national or international level and whose achievements have brought credit to Colorado State and benefit to fellow citizens.

After graduating with honors from Colorado State in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, Rominger was designated a Naval Aviator. As a Navy pilot, he logged more than 5,000 flying hours in more than 35 types of aircraft and completed 685 carrier landings. Rominger earned his master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1987.

Following a highly decorated career as a Navy fighter pilot and operations officer, Rominger was selected by NASA in 1992 for the astronaut training program. He has since flown on five space missions, twice serving as shuttle commander and three times as pilot. He has additionally served in a variety of technical assignments in support of NASA’s Space Shuttle program. In total, Rominger has logged more than 1,600 hours in space, traveled nearly 27 million miles and orbited the Earth 1,063 times.

In 1999, Rominger was selected to command a critical space shuttle mission to help prepare the new International Space Station in advance of the first Expedition crew. Rominger led another successful mission last year when he was in charge of an international team that installed a new-generation robotic arm to the space station.

In honor of his service to NASA and the nation, Rominger recently was promoted to the prestigious position of deputy director of flight crew operations, where he oversees about 500 astronauts and staff.

Rominger has received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Defense Superior Service Medal. He was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000, is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School where he was named pilot of the year in 1988, and was presented the Colorado State University Distinguished Service Award in 1997.

"The College of Engineering and the entire university are extremely proud of Captain Kent Rominger," said Neal Gallagher, dean of the engineering college. "He has reached the highest level in terms of professional accomplishments and personal service to the nation and has shown a level of service and dedication to the university that is second to none."

Rominger has remained a spokesperson for the College of Engineering and the university, helping Colorado State to expand its outreach efforts. He has inspired undergraduate students and faculty by sharing his educational and professional experiences as a keynote speaker at campus events such as Engineering Exploration Day and commencement ceremonies. Rominger also has been a guest speaker at several CSU Alumni Office chapter events and is prominently featured in the university’s nationwide promotional efforts.

Rominger will provide an inside look into the present and future of space exploration while in Fort Collins in April. His seminar, called "NASA Today," will take place from 10-11 a.m. April 26 in the Lory Student Center Theatre and is open to the public. Rominger also will present the keynote address at the College of Engineering Spring Commencement Ceremony on May 11.