VILLANOVA, Pa. ‑ The Villanova University Alumni Association (VUAA) has announced the selection of Thomas Sanzone ’68 College of Engineering (COE), as the recipient of its 2020 St. Thomas of Villanova Alumni Medal. The medal is the highest award given by the VUAA and is presented each year to alumni for outstanding service and to those who best symbolize the spirit and legacy of St. Thomas of Villanova. Sanzone will be recognized and formally receive the award this fall.
“Tom is the embodiment of what the St. Thomas of Villanova Alumni Medal signifies in our community,” said George Kolb, Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations. “A tireless advocate and dedicated volunteer for the University, he exemplifies the power of our alumni giving back to the University in ways that have a positive impact on future generations of Villanovans.”
A charter member and founding vice president of the Villanova Club of Houston, Sanzone has participated in chapter leadership and events since 1972. In 2012, he and his wife established the Brenda F. and Thomas V. Sanzone ’68 Endowed Scholarship in the College of Engineering. He has been a benefactor to the University through his memberships in the President’s Club, Caritas Society, 1842 Heritage Society and The Matthew Carr Society. He has received the College of Engineering Professional Achievement Award and served on the VUAA Board of Directors from 2011-2017. An active volunteer for the Office of University Admission, he enjoys supporting local college fairs, mentoring prospective and current students and encouraging Texas high school students to attend Villanova.
“I am honored to be recognized by the Alumni Association with the Saint Thomas of Villanova Alumni Medal,” Sanzone said. “I share this award in spirit with Villanovans that have become family to me. In this day and age of dramatic and rapid societal change, there is one thing that is ageless and unchanging at Villanova, and that is the Augustinian values, which have not wavered for more than 175 years.”
After graduating from Villanova, Sanzone enjoyed a 51-year career at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. He most recently served as Senior Executive for Engineering for MRI Technologies from 2011 to 2019. He was previously employed by Hamilton Sundstrand beginning in 1968 and served as Houston Office General Manager from 1986 until his retirement in 2011. Sanzone supported the company’s efforts during the Apollo program, training Apollo astronauts—including Neil Armstrong—in the use of the company’s Portable Life Support System that was successfully used on the moon. He was a charter member of the JSC Joint Leadership Team and a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal. Sanzone is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a recipient of the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Stellar Award.
A passionate supporter of Villanova Athletics, Sanzone has attended five Final Four appearances by the men’s basketball program. During the 1971 Final Four in Houston, Sanzone provided a tour of the Johnson Space Center to Villanova players, coaches and their families.
Since 1995, the St. Thomas of Villanova Alumni Medal has been given to those who have achieved a significant level of distinction within their career field and have made a major impact on their community, the University and the Alumni Association.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit www.villanova.edu.