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Apollo astronauts to speak at MSU Wednesday

 

Charlie Duke, left, and Fred Haise, pictured here during their careers as astronauts, will speak at MSU Oct. 11.

Charlie Duke, left, and Fred Haise, pictured here during their careers as astronauts, will speak at MSU Oct. 11. Photo by: Courtesy photos

 

MSU Office of Public Affairs

 

 

Two Apollo astronauts will speak at Mississippi State University Oct. 11 highlighting their space experiences and celebrating MSU's recent admission to the prestigious Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. 

 

Astronauts Charlie Duke and Fred Haise will be featured, along with MSU alum and Apollo engineer Jerry Bostick. They will speak about their personal experiences on the Apollo missions. MSU President Mark E. Keenum will open the 5:30 p.m. free event in historic Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium. A question-and-answer session will follow the astronauts' presentation. 

 

MSU is joining 35 other top research universities nationwide and is one of five institutions recently added to the ASF. MSU is the only university in Mississippi included in the ASF program, which aims to help the U.S. retain its world leadership in science and technology by providing scholarships to the very best and brightest college students pursing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields, commonly known as STEM. 

 

MSU students now are eligible for the ASF merit-based scholarship worth $10,000 each to outstanding college juniors and seniors. Students should apply during their sophomore or junior year. 

 

Also invited to the event is Ray Gildea, an MSU graduate and former assistant director of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government, whose gift to ASF helps support this permanent scholarship for MSU students. 

 

"We want the MSU community -- students, faculty and friends outside of campus -- to hear from national heroes how science and technology enable some of the most remarkable discoveries of this and the past century," said Tommy Anderson, MSU's director of prestigious external scholarships and interim assistant dean of academic affairs. 

 

"NASA has been at the forefront of these discoveries, and the event will tell a small part of this story," Anderson said.  

 

Anderson said attending this event is ideal for those interested in meeting scientists who participated in research with application that changed American history.  

 

"The astronauts are part of America's living history, and it is a great honor for MSU to host them for this event," he said. 

 

Universities selected for the ASF program must have strong undergraduate and graduate research programs with histories of producing significant numbers of professional scientists, academic scientists, engineers and researchers. 

 

"When you add in the FAA Center of Excellence in Unmanned Aerial Systems and the Boeing Stitched Resin Composites Center, there are some really fantastic opportunities for our aerospace engineering students," said Jason Keith, dean of MSU's James Worth Bagley College of Engineering. 

 

"We are excited to host these pioneers as part of the celebration of Mississippi State University's partnership with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation," Keith said. 

 

Based in Orlando, Florida, the ASF annually funds $10,000 scholarships for 45 students at participating universities. 

 

Anderson said MSU's partnership with ASF recognizes the university's commitment to graduate and undergraduate research. Inclusion in the "prestigious ASF scholarship program also indicates a high level of student success in presenting research, participating in peer-reviewed publications, and getting accepted into top-tier graduate programs," Anderson said. 

 

About the astronauts 

 

Haise is a Biloxi native who became a Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 13 and logged 9,100 hours of flying time. His awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, among other accolades. 

 

Duke served as Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 16 and explored the moon's Descartes region during the 1972 mission. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1997. 

 

Astronauts who have participated in U.S. space programs partially support the scholarship program, established in 1984 by six surviving members of Project Mercury who took part in the first human spaceflight program from 1958-1963. In addition to Project Mercury astronauts, support also comes from astronauts from the Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs. 

 

Astronaut scholars chosen to receive the scholarship may attend and present research at one of the signature ASF events, which may include presenting to astronauts, the general public, NASA and industry leaders. These students also may participate in the Innovative Leadership Mentor Program and have an astronaut, executive industry leader or Astronaut Scholar alumni as a mentor. In addition, they will become a member of the Astronaut Scholar Honor Society to build relationships and network with their peers. 

 

The Oct. 11 presentation is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, Bagley College of Engineering, and the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College. 

 

For more information, contact Anderson at 662-325-2522 or tpa14@msstate.edu.

 

 

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