Commencement speaker announced

Published 1:15 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Fuqua School will hold commencement exercises for the Class of 2022 on Friday, May 27 at 6 o’clock on the front lawn of the upper school campus. In keeping with the tradition of inviting alumni to deliver the commencement address, this year’s guest speaker will be Dr. Thomas “Thom” E. Pinelli. One of five brothers, Dr. Pinelli grew up in Farmville and was a graduate of the Prince Edward Academy Class of 1965.

Dr. Pinelli joined NASA in 1974 and retired with 39 years of mid- and senior level management, leadership, and research experience. The NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton was his principal duty station; secondary duty stations included NASA HQ in Washington, D.C. and the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. His management and leadership positions included Head, Visual Imaging Branch; Assistant Chief, Research Information and Application Division; Chief, Technical Information Division; Manager, NASA Center for Distance Learning; Deputy Manager, NASA K-20+ MODSIM (STEM) Education, Training, and 21st Century Workforce Development Initiative; and Special Assistant, Director of Administration, Executive Office of the President, Washington, DC. He retired as NASA Langley’s University Affairs Officer where he was responsible for the undergraduate and graduate internship programs, the summer faculty research program, and the postdoctoral research program. His numerous NASA honors and awards include the Exceptional Service Medal. Notable external recognitions include Letters of Appreciation from the Executive Office of the President, Washington, D.C. and the Governor of Virginia. Pinelli received his Ph.D. in Information Science from Indiana University, Bloomington. He holds graduate degrees from Old Dominion University, Clemson University, The Catholic University of America, and Golden Gate University. His research focus includes modeling, simulation, and synthetic learning; scientific and technical communications; the information-seeking behavior of engineers (as distinct from scientists); information and technology policy; and the diffusion of aerospace knowledge. He has authored more than 100, peer reviewed, publications and co-authored Knowledge Diffusion in the U.S. Aerospace Industry: Managing Knowledge for Competitive Advantage. He is a Fellow of the Society of Technical Communication and is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His academic achievements and contributions have been recognized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Association for Information Science and Technology, the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Society for Technical Communication, and the Special Libraries Association. In 2003, he received an Emmy® Award from the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences for the middle school mathematics educational series, NASA CONNECT™. Pinelli resides in Yorktown and is a York County/Poquoson Master Gardener.

“We are thrilled and honored that alumnus Dr. Pinelli has agreed to be a part of this year’s commencement exercises for the Class of 2022”, said Head of School Paul “Chance” Reynolds. “Dr. Pinelli’s life achievements are remarkable and will no doubt inspire our students to fulfill their own boundless, individual potential.”

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