2016 ASEF Gala
On February 28, 2016, the American-Slovenian Education Foundation (ASEF) celebrated its 3rd anniversary at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. The fundraising event honored educational pursuits in American-Slovenian relations. The 2016 ASEF Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to former astronaut, Dr. Ronald M. Šega, for exemplary leadership and networking in promoting education internationally. De. Šega comes from a Slovenian emigrant family. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1974, a master’s degree in physics from Ohio State University in Columbus in 1975, and a doctorate in electrical engineering from Colorado State University in Fort Collins in 1982, where he was a full professor for many years. He has published more than 50 scientific papers.
In 1990 he became a candidate for astronaut at the NASA space agency, in 1994 he flew into space for the first time as a flight engineer Discovery STS-60 (130 orbits of the Earth, 199 hours in space). He was then the coordinator of crew training in the U.S.-Russia space cooperation. He was the pilot commander of the Atlantis STS-76 expedition, during which the rocket plane merged with the Russian Mir space station on March 24, 1996 (420 hours in space). Dr. Šega charmed his listeners with stories of outer space in an interview with Honorary Consul Tom Brandi.
The evening was also musically enriching, hosting the soprano Suzana Ograjenšek, who presented Slovene classical composer Friderik Širca’s work. The music program featured also Dr. Denny McShane who performed an original composition.