Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Oh, the places you’ll go

“Two of my biggest takeaways [from U of R] were learning to think analytically and write cohesively, and that foundational experience served me well,” says Ann Halligan ’76, whose interest in political science and fascination with aerospace led to a 30-year career in government contracting.

Ann Halligan ’76 was first drawn to aerospace as an eight-year-old, watching the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions on a black-and-white television from her childhood home in San Gabriel, California.

“My mother said it was history in the making,” remembers Halligan, who graduated from University of Redlands with a degree in political science and history. She later earned her master’s in public administration from the University of Southern California and became a Presidential Management Intern, a highly selective U.S. government leadership development program.

Halligan’s 30-year career focused on government contracting, which brought together her interest in political science and fascination with aerospace. While serving with the United Space Alliance, she led negotiations for the 10-year, $6.9 billion Space Flight Operations contract, the largest authorized by NASA at the Johnson Space Center at that time. Halligan spent 15 years with Boeing Corporation’s space exploration business division, where she provided contract oversight for the international space station and space flight operations.

She credits her Redlands education as key to her success in this niche field. Recalling Professor Henry Dittmar’s history classes, she says, “Two of my biggest takeaways were learning to think analytically and write cohesively, and that foundational experience served me well.”

At the U of R, Halligan also attended the Salzburg Semester in spring 1974, which she describes as “an eye-opening experience.” A descendant of Irish immigrants, Halligan connected with her cousin, Sheila, in Dublin, who served as a conduit to other family members. Halligan’s still-vivid memories from this semester include seeing works from the Italian Renaissance, visiting the Eastern Block and Auschwitz, and going to Paris on her 20th birthday. Inspired by these first experiences abroad, Halligan has now traveled to all seven continents; some of these trips have been with Delta Kappa Psi sorority sisters, organized by travel agent Susan Cook Lynch ’76.

Other ways in which Halligan has maintained a strong connection to her alma mater include serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, on the Salzburg Campaign Committee, and as commencement speaker. Halligan also has included the University as a beneficiary of her retirement account, including provisions for the Salzburg Semester and general operating expenses.

“Supporting the general fund is always critical, and, because of Salzburg, I am richer in the way in which I look at the world,” says Halligan, whose nephew, Steven Halligan ’09, and his wife, Aimee Roach Halligan ’09, are also Redlands alumni. “I wanted to recognize the University for the tremendous experiences and education I received, which provided a solid foundation for my professional career.”

For information on how you can include the University as a beneficiary of your retirement account like Halligan has, please contact Katie Cure, director of planned giving, at 909-748-8905 or katie_cure@redlands.edu.