Milton Silveira passed away on July 11
- By Douglas G. Dickey
University of Vermont alumnus and long-time CEMS supporter, Milton Silveira passed away on July 11, at his residence in McLean, Virginia.
Dr. Silveira attended Fairhaven High School, graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and earned an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Virginia. After completing additional graduate level coursework at Virginia Tech and the University of Houston, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Vermont in 1977.
Dr. Silveira’s earned his pilot’s license at age 16. He held the presidency of the flying club throughout his undergraduate days as his love of aeronautics blended with his studies. In 1951 Silveira joined the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), which later evolved into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Later that year Silveira was called to serve as an aviator by the United States Army. He rose through the ranks to become the Chief Engineer and Maintenance Officer of the US 8th Army in Korea.
In 1955, Silveira returned to NACA and he worked on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo manned spacecraft programs, which endeavored to put a man on the moon. He also supervised the Little Joe II and the Skylab programs before becoming the manager of the Space Shuttle Engineering Office as well as the Deputy Manager of the Orbiter Project Office at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. From there he left JSC to return to NASA to become the Assistant to the NASA Deputy Director and later the NASA Chief Engineer. He retired from NASA after 36 years of service and joined the Ford Aerospace Agency in Washington, D.C. He later served as a consultant to the director of the Department of Defense at the Missile Defense Agency. He continued his association with NASA by consulting in support of the NASA Space Exploration Program.
Dr. Silveira’s relationship with engineering at UVM spanned his education and career. After earning his undergraduate degree he took on a long-term advisory role. He conducted a regular teleconference class and eventually became a member of the Board of Advisors for the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. As a board member he was a strong advocate for faculty development. This is perhaps best represented by his sponsorship of the eponymous Milton Silveira award that was given to an outstanding junior faculty member in the college from 2008-2012.