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Virginia Tech remembers Chris Kraft '44

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Category: culture Video duration: Virginia Tech remembers Chris Kraft '44

Chris Kraft '44, NASA’s first flight director and a pioneer who led multiple space missions, died Monday in Houston. He was 95 years old.

Across the nation, he is remembered as the face of NASA and father of the mission control center, which he created to communicate with spacecraft in orbit. At Virginia Tech, Kraft is known as a generous alumnus who served and gave back to his alma mater in countless ways. 

In an interview given approximately 20 years ago, Kraft reflected on his time at Virginia Tech.

[00:00:00] >> I think the biggest thing I learned here was leadership. In my experience in industry and government and wherever you go in management, it turns out there are very few people who are really trained as managers or leaders. And I think that Virginia Tech gave me an opportunity to be in leadership. [00:00:30] I think it has an environment which does not exist any place else in the world and I'm sure that most collegians would say the same thing going back to their alumni or to their campuses. Virginia Tech is a very beautiful place. It has a has people who have a verve which you don't run into every day which is nice to see. [00:00:52] It started out that way in the space program and changed rapidly because of the growing size of it and the bureaucracy that developed. We had that spirit in the Corps in the initial days of the space program and they're searching for it today but I think you find that at Virginia Tech and that's the wonderful thing you have here.