NATIVE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT TO BE HONORED BY CU-COLORADO SPRINGS

Margo Baker, 719-262-3832

April

15, 2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Margo Baker, 719-262-3832

George Carnes, 719-262-3648

NATIVE AMERICAN

ASTRONAUT TO BE HONORED BY CU-COLORADO SPRINGS

COLORADO

SPRINGS, COLO – The nation’s first Native American astronaut

and a 1983 CU-Colorado Springs graduate will receive an honorary doctorate

degree in special ceremonies April 22.

In November, John

B. Herrington made history aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, capping

an illustrious more than 20-year career as a U.S. Navy aviator. Endeavour’s

seven-member crew traveled to Space Station Alpha with a mission of

transporting a new three-member crew and returning three current space

station occupants, including two Russians, to Earth. Herrington performed

three space walks and installed a 29,000-pound truss to support various

solar arrays.

“It is an

honor to recognize the achievements of one of our nation’s heroes,”

Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said. “As a graduate of our campus,

John Herrington is an inspiration to past, present and future students

as well as to faculty, staff and friends of the university. Through

his actions, he demonstrates the opportunities that exist for our students.”

Herrington earned

a bachelor’s degree from CU-Colorado Springs in applied mathematics

and attended the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School, graduating

in 1984. In 1985, he was named a Navy aviator – a “Top Gun.”

He was a patrol plane commander, mission commander, patrol plane instructor

and a fleet replacement squadron instructor pilot before earning a master’s

degree in aeronautical engineering from the Navy Postgraduate School.

In 1996, he was selected by NASA. Six years later, he traveled to space

and became the first Native American to do so.

On board the shuttle,

Herrington brought a CU-Colorado Springs pennant and carried with him

two symbols of his heritage, a Chickasaw Nation flag and eagle feathers

given to him by several other tribal nations. Herrington, born in Wetumka,

Okla., is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

The Colorado Board

of Regents approved granting Herrington the honorary doctorate at the

March meeting. Several members of the Regents, campus officials and

members of the Native American community are expected to attend the

ceremonies that will feature an honoring song by a traditional drum

as well as comments by Shockley-Zalabak and Herrington.

Herrington will

receive his degree at an invitation-only dinner in his honor at the

Lodge. Herrington is unable to attend the university’s May 23

commencement ceremony.

CU-Colorado Springs,

located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in northeast Colorado Springs, is the

fastest growing university in Colorado and one of the fastest growing

universities in the nation. The university offers 25 bachelor’s degrees,

17 master’s and two doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls more than 7,400

students annually.

 

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