Robert V. Doggett, Jr. ’57 to Receive Honorary Degree

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Elderly man with white hair and beard, wearing a checkered shirt, smiling in front of a blurred background.

Randolph-Macon will confer an honorary Doctor of Science degree on Robert V. Doggett, Jr. ’57, an accomplished NASA scientist, during the College’s 2024 Commencement ceremony.

Doggett graduated from 91Ƶ with a B.S. in mathematics and a minor in physics, and that same year embarked on a 38-year career with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and its superseding organization, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Working at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., Doggett conducted research on many aspects of structural dynamics, focusing on aeroelasticity. As a researcher and research manager, he was involved in studies of airplanes, launch vehicles, and rotorcraft. He conducted basic and applied research inquiries, studies supporting the development of new flight vehicles, and investigations to explain and solve unexpected aeroelastic problems that occurred during the operation of existing vehicles. His work had a creative bent; he is the co-holder of two patents on techniques useful in testing for aeroelastic divergence and the inventor of the spoiler passive flutter suppression system.

Doggett held several leadership and management positions throughout his career, most notably Head of the Flutter Section, Head of the Configuration Aeroelasticity Branch, and Assistant Chief of the Structural Dynamics Division. Throughout most of his career, he was closely associated with the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel, which is a unique national wind tunnel developed explicitly for aeroelastic studies. Doggett was also involved in the Apollo program and the development of the Space Shuttle. His work has been recognized by many awards, among them the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He remains connected to NASA as a Langley Distinguished Research Associate.

While many of his colleagues had graduate and doctoral degrees, Doggett’s successful career was made even more remarkable by the fact that his formal education included just his Bachelor of Science from Randolph-Macon, crediting his liberal arts foundation for the ability to acquire the skills to excel in a highly technical field.

Doggett has also had a significant impact on his alma mater through generous financial support. His philanthropy has created the Barbara S. Doggett French Fellowship Fund, the Barbara Sylvia Doggett Memorial Music Scholarship, the Robert & Hester Doggett Softball Endowment, and the Doggett Endowed Fund for Recognizing Scholarship and Stewardship of Student-Athletes, in addition to supporting several capital projects.

Ѱ’s Commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 26 at the Frank E. Brown Fountain Plaza. Tickets are not required for the event, which will also be live streamed.