The Smithsonian has recognized the extraordinary generosity of aviation businessman Steven F. Udvar-Hazy by naming the National Air and Space Museum's new facility in northern Virginia in his honor.
The new facility, scheduled to open in December 2003, will be named the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The name was approved by the Smithsonian Board of Regents at its January meeting.
The center will be located on a 176-acre site at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Udvar-Hazy is the leading donor to the National Air and Space Museum Capital Campaign, and now serves as campaign co-chair with Sen. Howard Baker, a Smithsonian regent. Hazy is working to raise additional funds on the museum's behalf.
In October 1999, at a ceremony in the museum, Udvar-Hazy donated $60 million to the National Air and Space Museum. The entire gift, the single largest donation in the 153-year
history of the Smithsonian, will go toward construction of the Udvar-Hazy Center scheduled to
open in December 2003 on the centennial of the Wright brothers' flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C.
The structure, which will be 2 1/2 football fields long and 10 stories high, will be home to more than 300 aircraft and spacecraft, including the space shuttle Enterprise and an SR-71 Blackbird. Along with state-of-the-art storage and restoration facilities, the center will feature educational facilities, an archival resource center, a large-format theater, museum stores and restaurants, and an observation tower from which visitors can watch aircraft arriving and departing from nearby Washington Dulles International Airport.
"I'm thrilled to have the National Air and Space Museum's companion facility named in my honor," says Udvar- Hazy. "I know this new museum will impart to millions of children the same love for aviation that I have, and it will inspire future generations."
The board of regents also formally recognized the lifelong commitment of Vice Adm. Donald D. Engen, former director of the Air and Space Museum, to aviation education by naming the observation tower the Donald D. Engen Observation Tower.
In July 1999, Adm. Engen was killed in a glider accident. Before the accident, his commitment to the building of the new center was legendary. During his three years as director, he created a national board, put a strategy in place for the capital campaign, finalized the design of the center, and raised more than $25 million for the cause. It was his idea to add an observation tower for air traffic viewing.
The Udvar-Hazy Center is one of the few Smithsonian buildings to be created with private funds. Congress has appropriated $8 million for the initial design and the Commonwealth of Virginia is providing $34 million for infrastructure. The museum has raised $93.8 million of the $130 million goal set for the capital campaign.