DALRYMPLE NAMES JOHN D. ODEGARD THE 42nd RECIPIENT (News release: Sep 17, 2015)
DALRYMPLE NAMES JOHN D. ODEGARD THE 42nd RECIPIENT
OF THE THEODORE ROOSEVELT ROUGH RIDER AWARD
Governor to Present Award Posthumously to Odegard Family October 15
BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Jack Dalrymple today announced he has named aviation pioneer and leader John D. Odegard the 42nd recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens. Odegard is founder and former dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks. Dalrymple will officially present Odegard’s family with the award during an event in Grand Forks on October 15. Odegard passed away in 1998 and will be receiving the award posthumously.
“John D. Odegard was an extraordinary leader, entrepreneur, pilot and educational administrator who took two donated aircraft and a small office in UND’s Business College and built an aviation program that has grown into the largest and the best in the world,” said Dalrymple. “His vision and determination to see his dreams come true paved the way for North Dakota to become a worldwide leader in aerospace sciences, including aviation, space studies, atmospheric science and unmanned aircraft systems. His impressive achievements have brought global prestige and recognition to UND and our state, and his pioneering spirit will continue to impact generations of North Dakotans.”
In 1968, Odegard pioneered UND’s aviation program with one other faculty member and a pair of donated aircraft. Today, true to his legacy, the college has grown to become one of UND’s largest degree-granting colleges, one of the nation’s most widely-respected aerospace education programs, and a leader in atmospheric research.
The program that began with only 12 students now enrolls nearly 2,000 students who come from every state in the nation and several foreign countries. The program and its nearly 500 faculty and staff members are housed in a one-of-a-kind aerospace education complex. The school’s flight training facility is one of the largest of its kind in North America. Students fly more than 116,000 flight training hours annually in a fleet of 120 aircraft.
Throughout his 32-year career as an aerospace educator, Odegard’s reputation for leadership earned him industry acclaim and numerous recognitions. In 1982, he chaired the University Aviation Association’s Airway Science committee and directed the development of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) four-year degree designed to prepare technical managers for an increasingly complex National Airspace System. UND Aerospace was the first to implement the curriculum and has served as a model for academic institutions nationwide.
His visionary approach helped initiate the Airway Science Network, a joint effort between UND Aerospace and the FAA to broadcast aviation classes via satellite to college campuses across the country. In 1986, he captured worldwide industry attention for leading the development of the SPECTRUM® ab initio airline pilot training program, a program that emerged as an industry standard for commercial pilot training around the globe.
Under Odegard’s leadership, UND Aerospace moved to the forefront of research aimed at modernizing the nation’s aging weather radar surveillance system. The program’s accomplishments in severe weather analysis have generated millions of dollars in federal research contracts supporting studies on wind shear, aircraft icing and digital Doppler radar.
The nation’s first multi-disciplinary space studies program was established by UND Aerospace in 1987 to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of humankind’s move into space. Because of this program, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration designated UND a Space Grant College.
Odegard was honored with the FAA’s Excellence in Aviation Award and Distinguished Service Award for his many achievements in aerospace education and aviation safety. He was honored by the National Air Transportation Association with its Excellence in Pilot Training Award and received the prestigious Frank G. Brewer Trophy from the National Aeronautics Association for his distinguished and inspiring leadership in creating new educational opportunities. He was named North Dakota Business Innovator of the Year and was inducted into the North Dakota Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame and the Norsk Hostfest Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame.
He served as a consultant and guest speaker for many national governments, multi-national corporations, airlines and educational institutions. In North Dakota, he was a prominent figure on numerous boards and committees, and served for 20 years on the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. He is widely published on subjects of aviation education and flight training, and co-authored a leading textbook, Airport Planning and Management.
Odegard is a Minot native and graduate of UND. He was appointed to UND’s faculty in 1966 in the Business College. His proposal to merge a business degree with a flight program gave birth to UND’s aviation program and Odegard was named assistant professor and chairman of the new Department of Aviation in 1968. In 1982, the department was re-organized to become the Center for Aerospace Sciences, with Odegard as director, and in 1984, the center was granted full status as a college and he was named dean.
Throughout his career, Odegard logged more than 14,000 flight hours and held an airline transport pilot certificate, with type ratings for the Learjet, Beechjet 400 and Cessna Citation I/II aircraft. He was a certified flight instructor for airplanes, instrument, multi-engine and gliders. He was also an FAA pilot examiner for private, commercial, instrument, multi-engine, flight instructor, ATP, glider, and seaplane certificates and ratings.
“We are deeply honored and thank Governor Dalrymple for recognizing John’s vision and his North Dakota spirit with this prestigious award,” said Diane Odegard and family.
Dalrymple will officially present Odegard’s family with the award during a luncheon in Grand Forks on October 15. He will unveil a portrait of Odegard that will hang in the state Capitol in Bismarck, along with the portraits of other notable North Dakotans.
“John’s memory is still very much alive here at UND,” said Bruce Smith, dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. “His legacy as a leader and a consummate pilot continues to make a lasting impression on all of us.”
An honorary rank of Colonel in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders was established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial. The award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens.