SKILLMAN, NJ – Jon D. Erickson, an alumnus of the University of Michigan Class of 1959, is the winner of the 2011 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Achievement Award, hosted by the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) and presented by Rolex Watch U.S.A.
Erickson was honored on September 9th during the annual ITHF Board of Directors meeting, where he was presented with a distinctive Rolex timepiece. In addition to this special gift, Erickson and his wife, Mary, watched a session of the 2011 US Open from the President’s Box, courtesy of the USTA, and were recognized during the ITHF’s Legends Ball. The University of Michigan varsity tennis program also received a $1,000 donation from the ITA in Jon’s honor.
A native of Kalamazoo, Mich., Jon D. Erickson helped lead the Wolverines’ men’s tennis team to the NCAA title and two Big Ten Conference championships. Additionally, Erickson was named an ITA All-American after capturing the Big Ten singles and doubles titles.
After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 1959, Erickson stayed in Ann Arbor to continue his education, completing his graduate work in nuclear engineering and earning both his masters and doctorate degrees.
In 1976, Dr. Erickson joined the NASA Johnson Space Center and advanced through positions in Houston and Washington, DC, where he was regarded as a pioneer in Artificial Intelligence. He later concluded his career at NASA as the Chief Scientist for Automation, Robotics, and Simulation.
In 1992, Erickson was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. His work in space robotics made him a finalist in the 1996 Discover Magazine Technology Innovations of the Year at EPCOT competition.
In addition to Erickson’s contributions to the world-at-large, he volunteers in his local community, primarily through his church, as the weekly and annual editor of the church calendar and as a visitor and correspondent to prison inmates. He has contributed more than 10% of his annual income each year since 1961 to over 40 charitable causes.
Until 2011, Erickson was CEO and President of Berkeley Street Consulting, Inc, located in Houston, Texas, where he currently resides with his wife of 48 years.
The ITA Achievement Award was created in 1994 to pay tribute each year to past participants in the world of collegiate varsity tennis who have achieved excellence in their chosen careers. The person honored annually by the ITA as the Achievement Award winner is unique in his or her character and accomplishments. The spirit of this award honors both professional success and contributions to society, made either as a direct result of a career or through humanitarian efforts.
“The lessons learned on the court over a period of four years are a vital companion to the academic lessons of higher education,” said David A Benjamin, ITA Executive Director. “The winner of the ITA Achievement Award is an individual who benefited from the experience of intercollegiate competition, went on to great accomplishments, and has made significant contributions to his community.”
A distinguished award-selection panel determines the ITA Achievement Award winner. The members of the panel include: tennis legends Chris Evert & Stan Smith; Alan Schwartz, a Past-President of the USTA; the Honorable David Dinkins, Former Mayor of New York City; 1995 ITA Achievement Award recipient and Former Senator John Breaux (D-LA); Mark Stenning, Executive Director of the International Tennis Hall of Fame; John Fry, President of Drexel University, and David A Benjamin, ITA Executive Director.