UND’s aerospace school has a new leader.

Robert Kraus, an experienced pilot, aerospace administrator, aerospace educator and a retired Air Force colonel, has been named dean of the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, following a national search.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected for this position, and I look forward to joining the outstanding faculty, staff and students in Aerospace Sciences and the University of North Dakota community,” Kraus said in statement. “The school has a long and successful history of educating and training students, conducting research and supporting the economic development of the region that I hope to build upon.”

Kraus will replace outgoing dean Paul Lindseth who is stepping down to return to his position as professor within the aviation department. Kraus will begin his term on Jan. 15. Lindseth will continue to serve as dean through Jan. 14.

Paul Lindseth, who has served as dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences since 2016, is stepping down from the deanship on Dec. 31 to return to his former position as professor of aviation. He has been with UND for 32 years. UND photo
Paul Lindseth, who has served as dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences since 2016, is stepping down from the deanship on Dec. 31 to return to his former position as professor of aviation. He has been with UND for 32 years. UND photo

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Kraus currently serves as associate dean of flight and operations at Kent State University in Ohio, where he helps lead the professional flight programs and oversees all aspects of its airport operations, including maintenance and safety.

Kraus joined Kent State following a 28-year career in the U.S. Air Force. His final assignment was in Paris, France, where he was head of the operations and coordination division in the NATO Science and Technology Organization Collaboration Support Office, according to a UND press release.

In his career, he earned the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal and Meritorious Service Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters.

“We’re so pleased to welcome Dr. Kraus to the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, UND and the state of North Dakota,” said Debbie Storrs, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at UND.

Storrs said Kraus brings “a wide range of experience spanning higher education teaching and administration, flight and operations management and research leadership experience.”

“His array of experience and achievement is a perfect match for the innovative spirit and rich history of the school,” UND President Andrew Armacost said. “He will undoubtedly lead the students, faculty and staff to even greater heights.”

Kraus graduated from the Air Force Academy with a degree in aeronautical engineering. He earned his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and his doctorate in aerospace engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Kraus has overseen projects and programs in many of the areas that the Odegard School now focuses on, UND said in a press release. As chief scientist and director of research at the Air Force Academy, Kraus oversaw the execution of the Academy’s $60 million-plus research programs, coordinated the activities of 21 research centers and institutes and leveraged funding from more than 150 government and industry partners.

As flight test consultant for Golden Arm Associates in Henderson, Nev., Kraus trained the company that was tasked with testing the Air Force’s remotely piloted aircraft.