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NASA Chief Daniel S. Goldin to Deliver Centenary College's Commencement Address on May 3

Contact: Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service,
318-869-5120 or 869-5709

For the listing of 1997 graduates, see 200 Earn Diplomas.

SHREVEPORT, LA -- Daniel S. Goldin, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will be the commencement speaker when Centenary College holds its annual graduation ceremonies on Saturday, May 3 in the Gold Dome.

Some 220 students are candidates for degree and will receive bachelor of arts, bachelor of music, bachelor of science, master of business education, master of education, master of teaching and master of science degrees.

Goldin became the ninth NASA Administrator in April 1992 and immediately began to earn his reputation as an agent of change at America's space agency. His first initiative was to bring NASA's budget process under control. He created a series of management teams to find ways to operate programs faster, better and cheaper without compromising safety.

As the budgetary reforms evolved, NASA was able to remove a major financial impediment from its path. By the time President Clinton's Fiscal Year 1994 budget was submitted to the Congress in April 1993, NASA's five-year spending plan was reduced by $15 billion, the equivalent of an entire year's funding. Since that time, NASA has reduced its long-range spending plans by almost $30 billion.

The budgetary reforms streamlined major programs, while some of the savings were reinvested in improvements to NASA's science and planetary exploration missions. Under Goldin, the Discovery Program, an entirely new class of planetary probes, was inaugurated. The goal of the program is to reduce development time to less than three years, and mission costs to less than $150 million.

During the same period, Goldin launched a series of procurement and management reforms to make the agency more businesslike. He simplified and expedited procedures for awarding contracts, instituted a "yellow light" system that triggers stringent internal reviews even at the threat of cost overruns, expanded contracting opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses, and set up independent panels to insure that cost and schedule estimates are as accurate as possible.

Goldin also moved to promote significant new cooperative endeavors with the Russian Space Agency. He speaks movingly of one of his first meetings with his Russian counterpart, Yuri Koptev, the head of the Russian Space Agency. "Both of us spent many years working on high-tech devices that were used in the Cold War," he said "There we sat, two former Col Warriors, and we agreed that times had changed, and that a new era of peace and cooperation between our two countries was possible on the space frontier. It was an unforgettable moment."

Today, Russia is a full partner in the International Space Station program, a move that enabled the project to be completed sooner and at less cost to the American taxpayer.

Another major challenge for Goldin was the redesign of the Space Station program at the direction of President Clinton. The challenge was to significantly cut costs without sacrificing meaningful science or technology development capability for the orbital laboratory. Goldin formed a redesign team in 1993 which worked intensively to identify a series of less expensive options for the Clinton Administration to consider.

The president chose a derivative of the old Space Station Freedom design in 1993 and restated his strong support for the project. Overall, Goldin's team cut the life cycle costs of the space station by $15 billion.

Goldin also put in place a series of internal review teams to exhaustively prepare for the Space Shuttle mission in December 1993 to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. The repair work was a success and a few months later, in the Spring of 1994, the telescope provided the most convincing evidence yet of the existence of black holes and the formation of planets around distance stars.

Before coming to NASA, Goldin was vice president and general manager of the TRW Space & Technology Group in Redondo Beach, Calif. During a 25-year career at TRW, he successfully managed the development and production of advanced spacecraft, technology and space science instruments.

While at TRW, and later as the NASA Administrator, Goldin received the Meritorious Award from the National Association of Small and Disadvantaged Businesses for his work in reaching out to minorities. Goldin was the first repeat winner of this award.

He is a Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Fellow in the Institute for the Advancement of Engineering. In 1993 he received the John F. Kennedy Astronautics Award from the American Astronautical Society and the Space Pioneer Award from the National Space Society.

Goldin began his career as a research scientist at NASA's Lewis Research Center in Cleveland in 1962, and worked on electric propulsion systems for human interplanetary travel.

He was born in New York City on July 23, 1940. He received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1962 from the City College of New York.