USRA is a special organization. It was founded in 1969 by NASA and the National Academy of Sciences who both knew the importance of space to a peaceful and prosperous future for the United States, and for the world. They envisioned USRA as an organization which would engage university researchers from around the globe, involve them in important activities and serve as a catalyst for bringing new innovations to discovery in space. This organization would also help provide the results of space research to non-space applications, for the benefit of all humankind.
Today USRA serves that purpose in many ways. We operate a set of Institutes, Centers and Programs at nearly all NASA Centers, and with the Departments of Defense and Energy. Each year we integrate research from over 300 universities in these activities. They span the globe internationally, across all space disciplines, from biomedicine to astrophysics. As a leader, we know our first responsibility is to train future leaders, and our educational programs are also a source of pride. Last year we funded over 950 paid internships for students from all parts of society, including over a hundred first generation high school graduates.
People in USRA are proud of our organization and of how they contribute to our mission. They join USRA because they love space, and they love science. They also care very deeply about others. These values make USRA a special place to work. It is humbling to be a part of it. USRA's status as a non-profit organization is also a source of satisfaction. We are fortunate to be overseen by 105 member universities, who receive no benefit from membership, but instead contribute to our public purpose by electing a Board of Directors and establishing Corporate Bylaws. This broad oversight helps assure our tax-free status and commitment to the purpose for which we were founded without bias to a single university or research organization.
USRA has an outstanding heritage. It also has a very bright future. In this time of declining government resources, increasing global competition and environmental change, the need for a corporation like USRA, integrated with university research and with its own outstanding technical and management skills has never been greater. We will continue to assemble and lead multi-university teams of all types for all nature of technical missions. It is an exciting vision, and our best days are yet to come.
Thank you for visiting our website. Thank you also for everything you do, and especially for your commitment to science and to space.
Dr. Frederick A. Tarantino
President and CEO, USRA