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Greene receives Sesquicentennial Medal


President Jerry M. Hultin (left) presents Jay Greene ‘64EE with the Sesquicentennial Medal while Polytechnic Alumni Association President George Likourezos and Vice President for Academic Affairs Richard Thorsen ’63 ’67 look on. Behind Greene is the PolyThinking poster that features his accomplishments. (Photo: Donald Ivanoff)

After a two-year delay, Jay H. Greene ‘64EE was presented with the University’s Sesquicentennial Medal on Tuesday, Aug 28 in recognition of his extraordinary personal and professional accomplishments, and for providing inspiration to future generations.

He had originally been scheduled to receive this honor on Sept. 29, 2005, until Hurricane Rita left him without electricity at his Houston area home for several days.

Greene has had a distinguished career at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, culminating in his appointment as chief engineer of its Johnson Space Center. He held that position at the time of his 2004 retirement.

During his time with the agency, Greene witnessed the space program’s finest and darkest hours. As a flight dynamics officer, he worked in Mission Control for many of the historic Apollo missions, including 8, 11 and 13.  Later, he became the flight director for many of the space shuttle launches and was the ascent flight director for the ill-fated launch of Challenger in 1986. Following the mission’s tragic accident, NASA asked him to head its safety section. He later led teams involved in the planning of the International Space Station before his appointment as chief engineer.

Green has received NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Snoopy Award. He is also one of the few Polytechnic alumni who merits an entry on wikipedia and has been featured in two documentaries on the History Channel.