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Joan Mace receives Award of Achievement for Contribution to Aviation

Samantha Peko | Sep 15, 2014
Joan Mace
Photo by Rick Fatica

Joan Mace receives Award of Achievement for Contribution to Aviation

Samantha Peko | Sep 15, 2014

Photo by Rick Fatica

Joan Mace, AAS ’73, BGS ’78, former and first woman chair of the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s Department of Aviation, was recently presented the Award of Achievement for Contribution to Aviation from the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots.

The annual award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to any facet of aviation, such as aviation education, science, history, commerce and legislation.

"I was so honored and pleased that I had received an award for something I loved to do,” said Mace, whose interest in aviation began while she worked at the Curtiss-Wright Factory in Columbus during World War II.

“She was a true life Rosie the Riveter, responsible for inspecting airframe rivets, landing gear, flaring panels and wing root attachments,” said Ninety Nines International President Martha Phillips during her speech at the awards banquet in July.

Mace began working at Ohio University as a flight instructor at the Ohio University Airport in 1946 and took an academic position in the flight instruction program 17 years later, eventually becoming the first woman to chair the Aviation Department. Her accomplishments are still on the minds of prominent Aviation alumni today.

“Mrs. Mace instituted multiple programs, policies and procedures that literally drove our program to the next level,” said former student Eric Lampert, who currently serves as NetJets’ vice president and director of operations. “I consider Mrs. Mace to be one of the true pioneers in the industry and one of the best mentors that I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.” 

Mace’s decades of hard work and achievement resulted in the development of an internship program with United Airlines, establishment of the Ohio University Aviation Advisory Board and her induction into The National Flight Instructor Hall of Fame in 2008.   

“If you love what you’re doing, it’s not work, and that's how I felt about my career in aviation at OHIO,” Mace said.