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William E. Felling

William Felling

Dr. William Felling, ORAU executive director 1981-1988

Dr. William E. Felling served as ORAU’s executive director from 1981 to 1988 after serving first as associate director from 1975-1981. He was responsible for the overall management of ORAU and its 49-member university consortium.

As executive director, Felling oversaw corporate activities and the six divisions that did work for the U.S. Department of Energy, government and private organizations, ORAU’s member institutions, and other educational institutions.

He also served as the secretary/treasurer of the ORAU Board of Directors and was a member of the board of directors for the ORAU Foundation. Felling was also a member of the board of trustees of the Southeastern Universities Research Association and the 39th International Science and Engineering Fair.

Significant milestones achieved during Felling’s tenure include the addition of the Comparative Animal Research Laboratory, the groundbreaking for a new office auditorium complex on the ORAU campus, and the beginning of a collaborative relationship with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria.

Prior to joining ORAU, Felling was a program officer at the Ford Foundation for 10 years, first in the Science and Engineering Program and later in the Resources and Environment Program, which he helped initiate in 1967. He also spent seven years in industry between 1958 and 1965, first as a research scientist at McDonnell Aircraft working in celestial mechanics and astrophysics and later as corporate director of research and scientific liaison at the Raytheon Company.

Felling received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Iowa State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from St. Louis University, where he taught for 10 years. He also did postdoctoral work at Cornell and Yale. Felling was a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Academy for the Advancement of Science.

Topics addressed in his publications range from orbital dynamics and astrophysics to resource management, public interest law, and environmental education. Felling retired from ORAU in 1988. He died in October 1997.