ANTHONY COLNAR, BSME ’42
Retired Engineer, NASA
Anthony Colnar graduated from Fenn College in 1942 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. At age 96, he’s the oldest person ever to be honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
A project engineer who has been retired for 41 years, Mr. Colnar had just one employer – the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He joined the organization, originally called the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA), in 1942 and was based at Langley Field in Virginia. After several years, he was transferred to Cleveland, where he was on the engineering team that developed NASA research facilities both in Cleveland and in Sandusky. Throughout his career, he was involved with engine testing, engine development for space travel, nuclear site development, cryogenics and more.
Born in Slovenia, Mr. Colnar came to Cleveland at age 11. He now lives in North Olmsted with his wife Marilyn, whom he wed in 2006 after a 55-year friendship. An avid gardener, he has won numerous prizes for his roses, dahlias and vegetables.
Mr. Colnar has established three charitable gift annuities to benefit students, programs and faculty in the Washkewicz College of Engineering.