College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

2015 Jason Award recipients announced

Clayton Anderson.image

This story was originally posted with the Daily Nonpareil

Plans for the 2015 Jason Awards banquet to be held Tuesday, Nov. 17, are continuing to unfold.

The event will be held at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs. The reception will begin at 6 p.m., with the dinner and program to follow.

Honorary co-chairs for this year’s event are Brian and Stephani Moon of Omaha and Gary and Merilee Fischer of Council Bluffs. Serving as master of ceremonies again this year will be Phil Taylor, chairman of the Children’s Square Board. Jen Brown from Spirit Catholic Radio Network, 102.7 FM, will offer the invocation.

Individuals being honored this year include retired NASA Astronaut Clayton C. Anderson; fourth generation Council Bluffs business leader Robert W. Knox; Council Bluffs business owners Ron and Suzanne Mahoney; and retired school teacher Richard “Dick” Briley, who lived at the home as a young boy. This year’s corporate champion of children and community is US Bank. Market President Henry “Mick” McKinley will accept the award on behalf of the bank.

The theme this year is based on a quote by Victor Hugo: “There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”

“Each of this year’s recipients has dreamed big, and their dreams have become reality,” said Carol Wood, president and CEO of Children’s Square. “Each is a testament to the fact that the ambitions, careers and community contributions of ordinary people can and do have an extraordinary impact; they can and do create the future.”

Echoing this year’s theme, Anderson, the national Jason Award recipient, said: “The power of dreams is significant. Dreams ignite passion, they give hope for the future. Challenge the young people of today; ask them to dare to be different, to have significance. Challenge them to add extra to ordinary, and be extraordinary!”

The Jason Awards event is held annually to recognize individuals, couples, organizations and businesses that exemplify the mission of Children’s Square U.S.A. The Jason Award itself is a 14-inch bronze sculpture of a little boy, full of hope and optimism, running “full tilt” toward the future. It was sculpted by Thomas Palmerton from a photograph of a of a 4-year-old child running on the campus of Children’s Square. Palmerton was honored with the Jason Award in 2004.

Clayton C. Anderson – NASA Astronaut (Retired)

Retired astronaut Clayton C. Anderson is the 2015 national recipient of the Jason Award. “Astro Clay” – Astronaut Clayton Anderson – applied 15 times before NASA selected him as an astronaut in 1998; and he spent 30 years working for NASA, as an engineer and astronaut.

Succeeding in one of the most difficult and coveted jobs in the world through perseverance and a never-give-up mantra, Anderson employs NASA’s “Plan, Train and Fly (Execute)” philosophy, along with lessons learned in the areas of leadership, persistence and passion, to deliver a unique and “out of this world” insight for achieving practical execution to all his speaking engagements and projects.

He was born Feb. 23, 1959, in Omaha but considers Ashland, Nebraska, to be his hometown. He is married to the Susan Jane Harreld of Elkhart, Indiana. They have two children: a son, Clayton “Cole,” and a daughter, Sutton Marie.

Anderson graduated from Ashland-Greenwood High School in Ashland in 1977 and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Hastings College, Nebraska, where he competed on the football, basketball and track teams, in 1981. He received a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State University in 1983.

He joined the JSC in 1983 in the Mission Planning and Analysis Division, performing rendezvous and proximity operations trajectory designs for early space shuttle and International Space Station missions. In 1988, he moved to the Mission Operations Directorate as a flight design manager, leading the trajectory design team for the Galileo planetary mission while serving as the backup for the Magellan planetary mission.

In 1989, Anderson was chosen to be supervisor of the MOD Ascent Flight Design Section and, following reorganization, the Flight Design Engineering Office of the Flight Design and Dynamics Division. In 1993, he was named the chief of the Flight Design Branch. From 1996 until his selection to become an astronaut, Anderson was manager of the Emergency Operations Center, NASA Johnson Space Center.

Selected as a Mission Specialist by NASA in June 1998, he reported for training in August of that year. Training included orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques.

In 2007, Anderson spent a five-month tour of duty working aboard the International Space Station. He replaced Suni Williams as the Expedition 15 flight engineer and also assumed the role of science officer for the expedition.

During his 152-day tour of duty aboard the station, Anderson performed three spacewalks, totaling 18 hours, 01 minute. In 2010, he was part of the crew that executed a resupply mission to the International Space Station. Anderson performed three EVAs during this mission and logged 20 hours and 17 minutes of extravehicular activity.

In January 2013, Anderson retired from NASA to pursue other interests. His recreational interests include officiating college and high school basketball, participation in all sports, coaching youth sports, flying, reading, writing music, playing the piano/organ and vocal performance.

Anderson’s new book, The Ordinary Spaceman, From Boyhood Dreams to Astronaut was released in June of 2015.

For more information regarding Astronaut Clayton “Astro Clay” Anderson, visit and follow @Astro_Clay on twitter.

2015 Jason Award event sponsors to date include Warren Distribution, Hy-Vee, Lozier, Union Pharmacy, Cox Communications, SilverStone Group, TS Bank, The Daily Nonpareil, Karstens Investment Counsel, US Bank, Carol Wood, Tom and Jeanette Schierbrock, Friends of Children’s Square U.S.A. and Iowa Western Community College.

For additional information about the event, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Carol Wood or Kathy Peterson at Children’s Square at (712) 322-3700.

Children’s Square, based in Council Bluffs, also has offices in Sioux City and Omaha. Nearly 1,300 children and families are served each day.