NASA’s Gene Kranz to keynote Krannert event

August 26, 2014  

Gene Kranz

Gene Kranz 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Gene Kranz, the legendary NASA flight control director who led the effort to save Apollo 13, will give the keynote address Sept. 25 at the Purdue University Krannert School of Management’s 14th annual Leadership Speakers Series.

Kranz, who flew fighter jets for the U.S. Air Force and worked as a flight test engineer, joined NASA in 1960. He served as flight director for the Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs.

In 1983, Kranz was assigned as director of mission operations, with responsibilities for all aspects of mission design, testing, planning, training and spaceflight operations. He also led design, development, maintenance and operations of all related mission facilities, as well as the preparation of the Shuttle flight software. He was responsible for more than 6,000 employees and an annual budget of $750 million.

Kranz is perhaps best known for his leadership of the Houston-based flight crew during the Apollo 13 mission. In April 1970, the three-member Apollo 13 crew, headed for the moon, encountered a problem in oxygen tanks in their orbiter, Odyssey. Over the next few days, the crew, under the direction of Kranz and his team, lived in the lunar lander, preserving power in Odyssey for their return to earth. Four days after the problem occurred, the crew landed safely in the Pacific Ocean.

Kranz was a co-recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Nixon for the mission.

He retired from NASA in March 1994. He currently consults and gives motivational speeches.

Tickets for the dinner are available to the general public for $100 per person, $75 of which qualifies as a charitable deduction. Specially priced tickets are available for Purdue faculty, staff and students. Proceeds from the event go to Krannert undergraduate and graduate scholarships.

Several awards will be presented during the Krannert event, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Purdue Memorial Union ballrooms. Those awards are the Krannert Business Leadership Award, Krannert Distinguished Alumni Award, Krannert Distinguished Service Award, John S. Day Distinguished Alumni Academic Service Award, Young Alumni Award and Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship Award.

To reserve tickets for the dinner, contact Lou Underwood, Krannert assistant director of alumni relations and special events, at 765-494-0901, More information about the Leadership Series and this year's event is available at 

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432,

Source: Tim Newton, Krannert director of external relations and communication, 765-496-7271,

Note to Journalists: Media interested in covering the event should contact Tim Newton, Krannert director of external relations, at 765-496-7271, No video or audio taping will be allowed.

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