A Tradition of Excellence
It all began in 1968 with two donated planes, twelve students, and the formation of UND's Department of Aviation. John Odegard was the department's founding chairman. Odegard had a lifelong fascination with aviation, even working as a crop duster to help pay tuition as a college student.
In 1982, the Center for Aerospace Sciences was established to handle the tremendous growth of UND's atmospheric research and aviation education programs. The John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences is now the second-largest of UND's degree-granting colleges, and operates one of the largest fleets of civilian flight training in North America.
In 1997, as part of our 30th Anniversary celebration, the name John D. Odegard School Of Aerospace Sciences was adopted. The new name serves to centralize our ever-expanding aerospace presence, both educational and commercial. Our anniversary motto, "A Tradition Of Excellence," exemplifies the dedication that will guide us through the next 25 years and beyond.
John Odegard, UND Aerospace Founder
John D. Odegard was the founder and dean of UND Aerospace at the University of North Dakota. A department which began with only two donated aircraft and two faculty, the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences has evolved into one of the nation's most widely-respected aerospace education programs under his leadership. During his career as an aerospace educator, Odegard's reputation for leadership earned him industry respect and many honors.
In 1970, he was elected president of the University Aviation Association (UAA), a national organization dedicated to the recognition and standardization of aviation curriculum, and in 1982, chaired its ground-breaking Airway Science Curriculum Task Force. He was a prominent figure on many state, civic, and gubernatorial committees related to air transportation, education, and economic development, such as the North Dakota Aeronautics Committee, on which he served for twelve years, including four years as chairman.
Among his many awards was the prestigious Frank G. Brewer Trophy presented in November 1988 by the National Aeronautics Association for "his distinguished and inspiring leadership in creating new educational opportunities." A year earlier, the editors of Aviation Week and Space Technology recognized his contributions to aerospace in their 1987 Laurels nominations for "building the Center for Aerospace Sciences into a major force in aviation and space education."
In 1989, Odegard received the FAA Administrator's Regional "Championship" award for Excellence in Aviation Education, and was honored as the North Dakota "Business Innovator of the Year." In 1994, Odegard was presented the National Air Transportation Association's (NATA) Excellence in Pilot Training Award.
Odegard propelled UND Aerospace to international prominence by pioneering many precedent-setting programs, including the Aerospace curriculum, the Aerospace Network distance education system, and the SPECTRUM® ab initio pilot training program.
A Minot, North Dakota native, Odegard earned a B.B.A. in 1966 and an M.A. in Accounting in 1967 from the University of North Dakota. While an undergraduate student working summers as a crop sprayer, he revitalized the school's flying club. His master's thesis, "Feasibility and Cost Analysis of Institutional Private Aircraft Transportation," earned him approval to establish an air transportation service for UND officials.
Odegard logged more than 10,000 flight hours and held an airline transport certificate for Learjet, Cessna Citation, Beechjet, and single- and multi-engine 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, and for Cessna Citation type ratings.