Andy Stofan has the “right stuff.”
As a senior at Hiram, Andy and a few friends wanted to build a rocket but their professor declined the offer. In retrospect, Andy is thankful for that decision although he did eventually get to build his rockets and launch them to the outer edges of the solar system.
From his humble beginnings at Hiram, majoring in Math and Physics, to a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon, with additional graduate study at Case Western Reserve University, Andy has peppered his career with major accomplishments in the field of aeronautics. But not before making his mark on the Hill.
He saw action on the football field, wrestling mat, and on the track becoming a member of the H-Club. Also a Phi Gam, Andy was deeply immersed in the liberal arts tradition - a tradition that, for his family, traces back almost to the beginning of our institution. Both his mother, Ida Kelker Stofan and father, Andrew Stofan were members of the class of 1928. Andy's wife, Barbara Bedell Stofan is a 1958 graduate and his daughters, Lynn and Ellen carried on the tradition for a time in Hiram's classrooms. Criss-crossing generations and mixing through marriage with other notable Hiram families like the Kelkers, Kingzetts and Gibbs to name a few, the Stofan name has come to be synonymous with Hiram College.
Upon graduating from Hiram, Andy went on to work with NASA, first at the Lewis Research Center in Cleveland and later at their headquarters in Washington. In a span of twenty years, Andy's expertise granted him the opportunity to work with thousands of scientists, engineers and support staff. During his last stint as Director of the NASA Lewis Research Center, Andy emerged as a new brand of administrator within the government – one who is creative.
He is credited with running the facility like a university think tank rather than a manufacturing plant. The results of his management style, which promoted participation at all levels and broke down autocracies, earned him two presidential awards; the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive in 1982 and the Presidential rank of Distinguished Executive in 1985. In fact, because of his national and international recognition as an outstanding manager and technical expert, he was named administrator of the space station project in 1994. Responsible for space station-related activities at five NASA centers as well as international coordination of participants from Canada, Europe and Japan, Andy counted, in part, on his Hiram education.
Andy credits the value of the liberal arts education he received at Hiram with teaching him how to develop friendly, human relationships. Certainly, the technical knowledge he gained was invaluable, but it was the humanities background that helped him work with people.
In the years following, Andy went on to serve as Vice President for Advanced Launch Systems and later of Technical Operations for Martin Marietta Astronautics. Returning to Cleveland in 1991 as President of the Analex Corporation, a science and engineering company that supports NASA, the U.S. Airforce, Martin Marietta and General Dynamics. In 1993, he assumed a position with Lockheed Missiles and Space Company as Director of EOS Programs until his retirement.
But retirement hardly seems plausible for a man who has dedicated his life to his work. His civic and professional affiliations are many and the variety is as great as the number- from the board of directors for such organizations as the International Space University and the Microsat Launch Systems to the Boy Scouts of America Cleveland Chapter. He has also served as trustee for The Cleveland National Air Show and the Greater Cleveland Growth Association and currently serves on Hiram's Board of Trustees.
Often described as a man of few words, Andy is admired the world over for his intellect, vision and dedication to our space program. They are the same qualities for which he is admired and respected here on the Hill and for which he will be remembered for years to come. On behalf of Hiram College, the Alumni Executive Board and your Alumni Association, congratulations and thank you.