Paul F. Holloway
Class of 1960, BS
His grandfather and father were both expert fisherman but Paul Holloway turned his eyes upward to space instead of toward the water. As early as grade school, his teachers and fellow classmates marveled at his mind and knew he was destined to become a scientist of some sort.
Mr. Holloway only went on one job interview at the start of his career and jumped at the chance to work at NASA Langley Research Center as an aerospace research engineer during an important time for the space industry in the U.S. His career soared and when he retired from the center in January of 1997; he had held the position of director for the past five years.
Today, Mr. Holloway remains an internationally recognized authority in hypersonic aerodynamics, boundary-layer transition and flow separation, analysis of entry-flight mechanics, advanced launch vehicles, and earth orbital and planetary space missions.
A native of the small Virginia town of Poquoson, the NASA executive elected to stay there his entire career, despite attempts to move him to the hustle and bustle of nearby Washington, D.C. However, he did enjoy three temporary assignments at the NASA headquarters in the nation’s capital. He married his Poquoson High School sweetheart, Barbara. Their son, Eric, also lives in Poquoson. Unlike his father, but not unlike his grandfather and great-grandfather, Paul’s son returned to his earlier roots for his career as an independent waterman.
Mr. Holloway graduated with honors from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in aeronautical engineering in 1960. He also completed two years of graduate study work in physics at the College of William and Mary. Attending the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in Boston gave him the chance to rub elbows with other senior executives from 31 countries around the world. The practice-oriented program was designed to prepare senior corporate leaders to deal with issues and problems facing top-level management during the 1990s. In 1994, Old Dominion University awarded Mr. Holloway an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree.
When Mr. Holloway served as NASA Langley’s Director, he managed NASA’s aeronautical and space research activities as well as 2,800 civil service employees and 2,200 contract personnel. Prior to this appointment, he served for seven years as NASA Langley’s Deputy Director, responsible for overseeing its science, research, and technology space programs. And, from 1975 until 1985, he was the Director for Space, responsible for advanced space transportation, planetary entry space station, and Langley’s premier atmospheric sciences program. Throughout his career, he has stressed interdisciplinary approaches to solving critical technical problems that often became vital in resolving U.S. Congressional concerns about the space program.
For his efforts, he received numerous awards. In 1980, he received the Outstanding Leadership Medal followed by the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Service in 1981 for his sustained accomplishments in federal service. The aerospace engineer received the Presidential Rank of Distinguished Service in both 1987 and 1993. President Ronald Reagan conferred the 1987 award on the NASA star during special ceremonies, citing Mr. Holloway’s “sustained extraordinary accomplishment in management of programs of the U.S. government and for leadership exemplifying the highest standards of service to the public, reflecting credit on the career civil service.” He was a recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal and Equal Opportunity Medal in 1981 and in 1992. In 1992, he also earned the Distinguished Service Medal. He is a charter member of the Space Shuttle Task Group and the Space Station Technology Steering Committee.
His outstanding credentials earned him a special appointment by President Reagan in 1985. The President named Mr. Holloway the Co-Director of the NASA/DOD National Space Transportation Architecture Study Team.
The Peninsula Engineers’ Council awarded Mr. Holloway Engineer of the Year in 1997. He is a Fellow of both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Astronautical Society. As an active member of these organizations, Mr. Holloway has served on a multitude of boards and committees since 1955. He is also a member of the International Academy of Astronautics.
Since retiring, Mr. Holloway has consulted with the aerospace industry and NASA and has served for four years on the College Board of Thomas Nelson Community College.
Class of: 1960
Year Inducted into Academy: 2002