Holiday Letter – 1994

In 1990s by Steve Sliwa40 Comments

Dear Family & Friends:

The last year has literally flown by and all of us are pressing ahead almost as energetically and proactively as in the past.

Embry-Riddle continues to absorb the lions share of Steve and Nancys time and attention. The University broke ground on 7 new facilities, 3 in Prescott and 4 in Daytona. The Chapel in Daytona has already been completed, with the external structure of the Daytona Engineering and Technology building already dominating the ERAU entranceway. The walls of the new field house are just starting to go up. All buildings are expected to be completed in time for the Fall 1995 semester.

As expected, Steve is in the middle of cultivation and fund-raising activities to support the new growth sparked by the $40M capital expansion program. He has continued to reorganize the campuses and now has a trusted team in place, which frees him up to spend more of his time marketing the university to its various constituents. The decline in airlines, aerospace, military and college-aged students coupled with the recession has made the last few years more than a little challenging. In fact, this is the first year since arriving that budget cuts and downsizing were not required to maintain ERAUs 28 year history of balanced budgets. In the meantime, Steve is doing his best to galvanize the efforts of all of the stakeholders toward his vision of the university. We think considerable progress has been made on various fronts during the past year and recent successes will carry into the new year.

Over 3 years of concentrated effort at Embry-Riddle without a vacation finally caught up with Steve. He succumbed to his airplane envy of Nancys Mooney and acquired a racing sailplane, a German-made ASW-20. In contests it goes by SMS (Sierra Mike Sierra). Although Steve had not flown high-performance sailplanes in almost 15 years, he was determined to get back into the sport as rapidly as his schedule would permit. With only 4 flights under his belt, Steve competed in his first regional sailplane competition in New Mexico, finishing a respectable 12th. He guided SMS to 2000 miles of cross-country soaring in 9 days of flying; with a top speed of 80+ mph for one 240 mile task and a maximum height of over 17,000 feet on another flight. He came back from the west with a big smile on his face and renewed vigor.

Nancy wins the prize this year for the Most Changes. She enjoyed a short cruise to Mexico with a womens church group in May. In lieu of racing this year, she and her friend Marcie took a marathon trip across Canada in July. They had spend nearly 6 months in the planning stages. After Nancy flew to California with another friend, she and Marcie left from Palo Alto for Victoria, British Columbia, and spent two weeks traversing Canada, all the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Marcie and Nancy stayed at a different bed & breakfast or pilots house each and every night. They had wonderful weather for the most part, and finished their trip by meeting Steve and the Embry-Riddle contingent at the Oshkosh air show. She is still trying to get all her pictures and notes in order from that trip for potential articles.

But her biggest news is that after 13 years, Nancy decided to leave NASA. She left government service in mid-November, and is currently enjoying a long-anticipated sabbatical. She plans to participate more as a First Lady at Embry-Riddle, and is already actively leading a campus process re-engineering task force, flying her airplane on recruiting trips, and traveling with Steve on cultivation visits. She is investigating a number of other options, as well as including more graduate studies, consulting, and investing. BellSouth Mobility stock dropped two points after the market learned that Nancy got rid of her car phone, but she is very thankful to no longer have a 3-hour-a-day commute between our Beach House and the Kennedy Space Center!

Tabitha is still enjoying her studies in psychology as a junior at UC Santa Cruz. She is delighted to finally have an apartment off-campus, which she shares with two friends who were her roommates last year on-campus. In addition to her studies, she has a part-time job in a small cafe in Santa Cruz.

Honey continues to be the best dog ever! She has picked up a couple of new tricks, but at this point her vocabulary seems to be so large that she can communicate with almost any guest who visits the house! She is starting to get a little gray around the muzzle, but still has a spring in her step. She survived the summer heat in style by spending many days swimming in Steves parents pool in Daytona Beach. She also flew with Nancy and Steve up to Nancys parents cabin in Tennessee over Labor Day Weekend to go swimming in the lake.

Steve and Nancy decided to get Honey a new playmate as a Christmas present, and so are expecting a new (lighter) golden retriever puppy just before the holidays. It will be named Chandelle (which is a picturesque flight maneuver). Steve will have his hands full trying to get as much of Chandelles training done as possible during the Christmas lull! But Steve claims that his job is to teach Nancy how to be the dog trainer this time; and, that training Chandelle will be her spare time activity during her sabbatical.

As always, we extend an invitation to come and visit us anytime; we have plenty of room in the Embry-Riddle guest house where we live, and enjoy sharing our magnificent beachfront with our friends.

As this letter leaves us all healthy and happy, we hope it in turn finds you likewise. A happy holiday season, and best wishes for a wonderful new year to you and yours!

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