An astronaut who shares the record for most Space Shuttle missions will visit West Virginia University as a scholar-in-residence to meet with students as a continuation of the yearlong celebration of Hidden Figures, the 2017-18 Campus Read.
Jerry L. Ross will also give a public lecture Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair ballrooms.
Ross is a veteran of seven U.S. Space Shuttle missions, a record he shares with Franklin Chang-Diaz. A 2014 inductee into the Astronaut Hall of Fame, he is the author of Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA’s Record-Setting Frequent Flyer, as well as a version of his story for children, Becoming a Spacewalker: My Journey to the Stars. He flew five times on the Atlantis space shuttle, once on Columbia and once on Endeavour. Ross also led the team of spacewalkers who began assembly of the International Space Station and was among the first to enter it in orbit.
With nine spacewalks, Ross is tied for third among spacewalkers worldwide and second in the U.S.
He is one of only three NASA astronauts to support the US Space Shuttle program from before the first launch through the final shuttle landing. Ross also supported the International Space Station program from its inception through the final assembly and initial operations. He helped develop and create the facilities, tools, techniques and training needed to construct the space station.
Ross performed a leadership role in the recovery of the Space Shuttle Columbia wreckage. As part of his residency at WVU, he will meet with graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science program to talk about that experience, then discuss the ethical repercussions of disaster recovery with leadership students.
As a scholar-in-residence, he will also meet with students from the WVU Student Partnership for the Advancement of Cosmic Exploration and members of the WVU Robotics Team.
Ross’s public lecture will focus on his extraordinary personal journey to becoming an astronaut and spending a career in NASA. All members of the campus and Morgantown community are welcome to attend. The event will be family-friendly for children in upper elementary school through high school. Copies of both of Ross’s books will be available for purchase and signature onsite.
Ross has been awarded two Defense Superior Service Medals, the Air Force Legion of Merit, four Defense Meritorious Service Medals, two Air Force Meritorious Service Medals, the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement, and fifteen NASA medals.
On Jan. 30, he will meet with students at Trinity High School.
Hidden Figures, the 2017-18 Campus Read, is the untold story of African American women’s contributions to America’s race to space. Two of the women featured in the story—Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughn—have ties to Morgantown. This year’s celebration of the book has included panel discussions, a planetarium show, an edit-a-thon in Wikipedia, and a lecture with Emily Calandrelli, a WVU alumnus who is the host of Exploration Outer Space on FOX.
Contact: Ann Claycomb
Assistant Vice President, Strategic and Academic Communication, Office of the Provost
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