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Alumni Achievement Award:
This award celebrates an individual who has achieved distinction in their professional field.

“There is no way to put a total value on the amount of good will Gil brought to the state and NDSU during the three years he was the Commander of the Navy’s Demonstrations Squadron, the Blue Angels. He always represented himself as a North Dakotan and NDSU grad at the hundreds of events where the Blue Angels performed.”

– Allan R. Johnson, Class of 1968


Click to watch biography video

Gilman E. Rud
B.S. 1966, agricultural economics

Gil loved growing up on the farm and never considered doing anything other than becoming a farmer, just like his father. With that goal in mind, NDSU was always his first choice. Being from Portland, ND going to school in the “big city” was added incentive. Gil was involved with freshman football and baseball, Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, Ag Econ Club, Rajah Club and Alpha Zeta. Gil also made the long car trip to Abilene, TX in 1965 for the National Football Championship, witnessing a great victory over heavily favored Grambling. Gil graduated in 1966 with a degree in Agricultural Economics.

After graduation Gil set out to begin his farming career; however, Vietnam changed the course of his plans. In May 1967, Gil joined the Navy and in 1968 earned his Navy Wings of Gold. He went on to log 57 aerial combat missions during the Vietnam War, over 5600 hours of flying time and 786 aircraft carrier landings.

In 1986, Gil earned the rare distinction as the Commanding Officer for the Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels).

Gil served as the Commanding Officer for two Navy ships, the last one being the aircraft carrier USS Constellation, which at 85,000 tons, over 1000 feet long and having a flight deck totaling more than four acres, is one of the Navy’s largest ships. On this ship, he commanded a crew of over 2500, plus another 2500 when the Air Wing was aboard.

As quoted by Allan Johnson in his nomination materials: “Retiring from the Navy after such a stellar career might have been good for most men, but not Gil Rud.”

For the last 14 years of his career, Gil worked for McDonnell Douglas Aerospace Company - which later became part of the Boeing Company. He was selected to be the managing director of McDonnell Douglas Limited Norway where he lived in Norway and was responsible for marketing and monitoring the performance of their products.

He became a manager in the development of the new F-18 Super Hornet and played a key role in bringing the new plane online ahead of schedule and under budget. At the time, this plane was the most advanced and capable fighter plane in the world. Gil retired from Boeing in 2009 as the Director of Business Development.

Gil has enjoyed a phenomenal career in flight—dedicating 28 years of service with the US Navy and following that a brilliant career in the aviation marketplace. Gil has also served as a member of the Fargo AirSho Committee and is a Lifetime member of the American Legion Post in Portland, ND. He is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), which introduces young people to aviation through a program called the Young Eagles. Once a month he flies youngsters that would otherwise never be exposed to aviation.

Gil has three children, Valerie, Ryan and Sally with his late wife, Barbara, who passed away in 2005. Gil went on to meet a wonderful lady, Carol Simmons, and they were married in 2009. She has two daughters, Erin and Stacey, so they are now a family with five children, three grandchildren, and two more on the way. Gil and Carol make their home in Coronado, CA.

“The pilots selected to be Blue Angels are considered the ‘best of the best’ so it could be said that the Navy recognized Gil as ‘the best of the best of the best.’”

– Keith Rindy, Class of 1975


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