America’s First Native American Astronaut to Give Talk on Dec. 3

The first American Indian astronaut, Lieutenant Commander John Herrington, U.S. Navy and Chickasaw tribal member, will visit the Colorado State University campus on Dec. 3 to talk about America’s space program and his personal experience training as a space shuttle mission specialist. Herrington will speak from 12:30-2 p.m. in Room 118 Shepardson Building. The lecture is free and open to the public. For further information, contact Irene Vernon at (970) 491-6839.

Herrington received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1995.

As a Naval test pilot, Mr. Herrington has logged more than 2,300 flight hours in 30 different types of aircraft. He has won numerous military commendations, including the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Meritorious Unit commendation, the Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon, the National Defense Medal and three Sea Service Deployment ribbons.

Herrington said that his unique role as NASA’s first officially recognized American Indian astronaut gives him the opportunity to demonstrate to students that anyone can succeed if they work hard and are "open to the people who reach out to help you." In a recent newspaper interview, Herrington acknowledged that he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do until an employer and former World War II pilot saw his potential and helped put him on the right track.

"There are people who come along in your life who literally can change your life, but you have to open up to them and be willing to grow."