The Centennial celebrations for the Aerospace Department at the University of Michigan kicked off in grand style with a dessert reception at AIAA’s SciTech 2014 conference in Maryland.
The reception, held in the Maryland Ballroom of the Gaylord National Harbor Convention Center on the eve of January 15th, was attended by over one hundred and sixty students, faculty and professionals from the Aerospace industry. Some of the more notable attendees included Lockheed Martin Skunk Works VP, ‘Chief Skunk’ Al Romig and legendary aircraft designer, Leland Nicolai, as well as prominent members of the industry from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Cessna and others.
As a recent alum myself, it was rewarding to see so many successful and passionate alumni enjoying the evening, sharing their aerospace knowledge with students, and catching up with old friends. I was quickly reminded of why I’m so proud to be a Michigan Wolverine. Go Blue!
—Benjamin Marchionna (BSAE ’11)
More about the reception: The ballroom was spectacularly decorated in Michigan’s own Maize and Blue with several cocktail tables laid out in wait for the exciting conversations that the attendees would have throughout the night. A presentation highlighting some of the department’s most distinguished Alumni as well as several of the greatest achievements in the industry was played throughout the night to remind everyone of not only the significant and historical steps that have been made in aerospace but also the immeasurable contribution that the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Michigan has made in its first century.
Several tables with Centennial memorabilia were laid out near the entrance to the ballroom so the attendees could pick up their favorite Centennial souvenir, be it the evergreen coffee mugs, the footballs made to look like blimps and rockets or the classy Centennial lapel pins. Several of the pins made an appearance later on in the conference, worn proudly by both Michigan alum and the students attending the conference.
The fantastic dessert bar that included several classic ice cream flavors was a huge success. Each attendee rushed to get their fill of ice cream and it was incredible to see both young and old enjoy the sweet treat while indulging in some fun and engaging conversation all evening. Professor Dan Inman, the chair of the department, said a few words and offered an invitation to the Centennial celebration in the Fall of 2014 (September 18-120). Toward the end of the evening, photos were taken of the current faculty and students as well as the Alumni present at the reception.
After this incredible opening event to a year of celebrating all that the Aerospace Engineering department has achieved, I, for one, am very excited to see what the rest of the festivities will hold.