Robert L. Ash is an Old Dominion University professor with his feet firmly planted on the classroom floor, with his eyes always focused on the needs of his students. Yet Professor Ash is not fettered to the ground, confined by the limited space of a class or office. His perceptive gaze spans the universe. With his eyes on the heavens, he can make walls and ceilings disappear, for his mind encompasses the wonders of outer space with all its possibilities for us earthbound mortals.
As Professor of Aerospace Engineering and a member of the Old Dominion University faculty since 1967, Robert Ash has inspired almost as many students as there are stars in the sky. He is renown for his teaching skills, his dedication to both undergraduate and graduate students, and his ability to reveal the wonders of aerospace dynamics to students, inspiring them also to look above and beyond their earthly environment.
Professor Ash has received national and international recognition for his studies on Mars exploration, specifically pursuing the subject of generating water power and oxygen for manned space trips to Mars. At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Langley Research Center, he has served as a Distinguished Research Engineer. His scholarly publications range from outer space topics, to the vortex dynamics for scheduling take-offs and landings at airports, and even to work on the Wright Brothers' aircraft and early flights. Thus, his scholarly brilliance truly stretches from Kitty Hawk to Mars.
While generating almost $4 million of research grants at Old Dominion, he has also been an able administrator, and has received numerous awards including designation as an Eminent Scholar; an Associate Fellow by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1992; the Outstanding Engineering Professor in Virginia in 1993; and the Pletta Award in 1993, which is given annually to recognize a Virginia engineering educator who has exhibited outstanding teaching and public service in the Commonwealth.
For his gifts of teaching, research, and scholarship to Old Dominion University, the Friends of the Old Dominion University Library presents its year 2000 Outstanding Achievement Award to Robert L. Ash.
Jean A. Major