TAHLEQUAH – Traveling among the stars was a dream come true for John Herrington, a former NASA astronaut and retired commander in the U.S. Navy. Herrington will discuss his journey from rural Oklahoma to the International Space Station in “Living Your Dreams,” a keynote address as part of Northeastern State University’s 36th Annual Symposium on the American Indian on Thursday, April 17 at 10 a.m. in the University Center Ballroom.
Herrington was born in Wetumka, Oklahoma, and spent time growing up in Colorado, Wyoming and Texas. He graduated from Plano Senior High School in Plano, Texas in 1976 and earned his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1983 and a master of science in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1995.
Herrington received his commission from Aviation Officer Candidate School in March 1984 and was designated a Naval Aviator in March 1985. He was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in January 1990 and graduated later that year, becoming a test pilot for the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System. Following his selection as an Aeronautical Engineering Duty Officer, Herrington reported to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He was later assigned as a special projects officer to the Bureau of Naval Personnel Sea Duty Component when selected for the astronaut program. He has logged over 3,800 flight hours in over 30 different types of aircraft.
Selected by NASA in April 1996, Herrington reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. He completed two years of training and evaluation, qualifying for flight as a mission specialist. Herrington was assigned to the Flight Support Branch of the Astronaut Office, where he served as a member of the Astronaut Support Personnel team responsible for shuttle launch preparations and post-landing operations.
He flew the STS-113 Endeavour on Nov. 23-Dec. 7, 2002 on the 16th shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. Herrington retired from the U.S. Navy and NASA in July 2005.
He was named the Distinguished Naval Graduate from Aviation Officer Candidate School in 1984 and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbon, National Defense Medal and three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.
Herrington is brought to NSU courtesy of ExxonMobil. The presentation is free to the public.
“The Sun the Moon the Stars, Rhythms of Life,” the 36th Annual Symposium on the American Indian is set for April 16-19, 2008 at NSU in the University Center.
Additional speakers include Oklahoma Centennial Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Jerry Elliott, Kiowa traditionalist Kelly Anquoe, documentary filmmaker Sara Barnett-Flores, Navajo cultural consultant Dr. David Begay, Coordinator for the Pawnee Earth Lodge exhibit at the Field Museum of Chicago Mary Ann Bloom, award winning novelist and poet Robert Conley, Sioux traditionalist Warren Hawk, Assistant Site Manager and Public Relations Director for the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site William Iseminger, Founder and President of the Indigenous Education Institute Dr. Nancy Maryboy, Director of Indians into Psychology at the University of North Dakota Justin D. (Doug) McDonald, and Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Kansas Dr. Akira Yamamoto.
For more information on the 36th annual Symposium on the American Indian, call the NSU Center for Tribal Studies at 918-444-4350. For a full schedule of events, visit www.cts.nsuok.edu/symposium/index.htm.