Auburn University chosen for prestigious Astronaut Scholarship Program

Published: August 31, 2017
Updated: September 06, 2017
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Auburn University will join 35 other top research universities nationwide, including MIT and Georgia Tech, as the newest participant in the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s prestigious, merit-based scholarship worth $10,000 each to outstanding college juniors and seniors and partially supported by living astronauts of America’s storied space programs.

Established in 1984 by six surviving members of Project Mercury astronauts who partook in the first human spaceflight program of the United States from 1958 through 1963, the scholarships intend to reward top college students with majors in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields.

"The College of Sciences and Mathematics at Auburn has a strong tradition and history of preparing students for leadership roles in the STEM industry, including astronauts Hank Hartsfield and Kathryn Thornton, as well as top NASA scientists like Suzan Voss, who is a manager for NASA’s International Space Station program," said Nicholas Giordano, dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics. "Our students are the leaders of the future in the fields of science, medicine, mathematics and other STEM disciplines. As such, we are grateful for our partnership with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. Their financial support will directly contribute to maintaining an environment that ensures excellence and is vital to our mission of preparing students for the workforce who will contribute greatly to society."

"With four alumni who have served as astronauts, Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering has a rich history tied to our nation’s legacy of space exploration," said Christopher B. Roberts, dean of engineering. "The generosity of these former astronauts will allow the next generation of engineers and technologists to leave their own mark of excellence on the world. We look forward to participating in this scholarship program and believe it will complement our student-centric method to engineering education."

Auburn was one of five universities that were added to the program in August due to the significant research opportunities available for undergraduate students. The other universities are the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Massachusetts, Colorado State University and Mississippi State University.

"We are pleased to welcome Auburn University into the Astronaut Scholarship Program," said ASF Board Chairman Curt Brown, an astronaut and veteran of six space flights. "Its commitment to leadership in science and technology is in keeping with the vision of American’s space pioneers who blazed a trail for the United States and captured the imagination of the world. By participating in this effort, Auburn will help the U.S. maintain its leading edge by recognizing and rewarding their best STEM students."

Astronaut Mike Collins, who served as pilot for the Gemini X mission in 1966 and command module pilot for Apollo 11 in 1969, will be the keynote speaker at the Innovators Gala on Sept. 16 in Washington D.C. The event will introduce the 45 members of the 2017-2018 Astronaut Scholar class and the first recipient of the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence. Armstrong passed away in August 2012.

Based in Orlando, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation annually funds up to $10,000 scholarships for 50 students, as well as has a life-long relationship with each recipient providing them with many programs and opportunities. The foundation has the support of astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs who participate in this educational effort. ASF also accepts other contributions.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 29,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.