The University of Michigan started the first collegiate aeronautics program in the United States in 1914, just 11 years after the Wright Brothers’ first controlled, powered flights at Kitty Hawk.
Since then, the Department has graduated more than 4,000 aeronautical and aerospace engineers. Our alumni have gone on to distinguished careers in essentially all areas of the aerospace enterprise, in related fields, in government and in academia.
Five were astronauts who orbited Earth. Three went to the moon.
Ed White (MSE 1959) made the first spacewalk by an American.
Jack Lousma (BSE 1959, PhD 1973) commanded Skylab and piloted the third space shuttle flight.
Jim McDivitt (BSE 1959, PhD 1965) commanded Apollo 9 and was Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program for Apollo 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.
Clarence “Kelly” Johnson (BSE 1932, MSE 1933) is widely considered one of America’s greatest aircraft designers. He went on to establish the legendary Lockheed Skunk Works, and led in the creation of aircraft such as the P-38, the F-104, the U-2 and the SR-71.
More than 20 alumni have been employed with SpaceX and were involved with the Dragon mission.
Learn more about our history: read Bicentennial website stories.
Our alumni span the globe, and their accomplishments and involvement are critical to helping us move the department forward. There are many ways for Aerospace Engineering alumni to stay connected.
If you are an alumnus or alumna and would like to get on our mailing list, set up a visit, give us some news for the newsletter or just say hi, please contact us.
Stay informed about the research and expertise of Michigan Engineering, and make connections with its faculty and students.
Follow us on your favorite social media channel, and get involved with our groups located around the world.
Discover our social media platforms.
Alumni are always welcome back to campus to visit former faculty and staff or get a tour of our new facilities. Prior to your arrival, please be sure to contact our front desk (734) 764-3310 or your faculty host (faculty member who extended the invitation) for assistance with your visit.
Michigan Engineering Homecoming Weekend is the perfect opportunity to come back to campus and reconnect with friends and former faculty. Interact with student teams, visit your department, attend the alumni board meeting and tailgate before the big game.