Stepped down as Secretary of the Air Force Oct. 31, 1997
Sheila E. Widnall is Secretary of the Air Force. In that role she is responsible for the current and future readiness of the Air Force to accomplish its missions. She oversees the recruiting, training and equipping of the 380,000 men and women on active duty, 251,000 members of the Air National Guard and the Air Reserve, and 184,000 civilians of the Total Force, and is further responsible for planning, justifying and allocating the service's annual budget of approximately $62 billion. Her other responsibilities include logistical support, maintenance, research and development and welfare of personnel.
In previous positions with the Air Force, Dr. Widnall served on the USAF Academy Board of Visitors, and on advisory committees to Military Airlift Command and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Dr. Widnall, a faculty member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 28 years, became an associate provost at the university in January 1992. A professor of aeronautics and astronautics, she is internationally known for her work in fluid dynamics, specifically in the areas of aircraft turbulence and spiraling airflows. She has served on many boards, panels and committees in government, academia and industry. The Tacoma, Washington, native is the author of some 70 publications. During her tenure Dr. Widnall has concentrated on quality of life issues, modernization and acquisition reform and scientific and technological development. She assumed her current position Aug. 6, 1993.
1960 Bachelor of science degree, aeronautics and astronautics, MIT
1961 Master of science degree, aeronautics and astronautics, MIT
1964 Doctor of science degree, MIT
1. 1964 - 1970, assistant professor, MIT
2. 1970 - 1974, associate professor, MIT
3. 1974 - 1993, professor, MIT
4. 1975 - 1979, head, fluid mechanics division, MIT
5. 1979 - 1980, faculty chairperson, MIT
6. 1979 - 1990, director, Fluid Dynamics Research Laboratory
7. 1991 - 1992, chairperson, MIT's Committee on Academic Responsibility
8. 1992 - 1993, associate provost, MIT
9. 1993 - present, Secretary of the Air Force
AWARDS AND HONORS
1993 National Academy of Engineering Distinguished Service Award
1994 Princeton University - honorary degree - doctor of science
1994 Suffolk University - honorary degree
1994 Barnard College Medal of Distinction
1995 W. Stuart Symington Award - Air Force Association
1995 Boston USO Military Service Award
1995 Maxwell A. Kriendler Memorial Award - Air Force Association
1996 Durand Lectureship for Public Service - American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
1996 Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame
1996 New Englander of the Year - New England Council
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
Past trustee, Aerospace Corp.
Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Past president and past chairperson, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences
Past trustee, Boston Museum of Science
Member, Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government
Past trustee, Carnegie Corp.
Past trustee, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc., Cambridge, Mass.
Member, International Academy of Astronautics
Member, National Academy of Engineering
National Academy of Sciences' Panel on Scientific Responsibility
Past member, Board of Visitors for the U.S. Air Force Academy; board chairperson