Dr. Guion “Guy” Bluford was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1942, where he was raised by engineer and teacher parents. Dr. Bluford was a strong student and became an Eagle Scout and a member of the Air Force ROTC, before heading to college and earning a bachelors degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1965 from Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Bluford then underwent pilot training in Arizona at Williams Air Force base. He got his pilot wings in 1966 and became a combat pilot for the USAF during the Vietnam War, flying 144 missions. Among the various honors he received for his service to the United States was the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm. Dr. Bluford earned a Masters degree in Aerospace Engineering in 1974 and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering in 1978 (both from the Air Force Institute of Technology), and was selected by NASA tor the space shuttle team in 1978. Dr. Bluford was officially named an astronaut in 1979.
Guy Bluford flew four missions for NASA. During the first, STS-8, on the Challenger in 1983, he became the first African American to fly in space. His second mission was on the third Spacelab flight, STS-61-A, also on the Challenger. This flight featured an international crew of eight, the most to have ever flown at once into space. After the Challenger disaster in 1986, Dr. Bluford returned to school, this time at the University of Houston, Clear Lake, earning a Masters in Business Administration in 1987 before returning to the space shuttle program. Bluford’s third mission was on the space shuttle Discovery in 1991, on STS-39, and his final mission for NASA took place on Discovery as well, with mission STS-53 in 1992.
After retiring from service as an astronaut in 1993, Dr. Bluford entered the business world, working for such companies as NYMA and the Northrop Grumman Corporation. He is a member of many professional and academic organizations, and gives talks throughout the country about his experiences with NASA and the future of America’s space program.
Keynote Title: An Astronaut's Journey: An Evening With Guy Bluford
Dr. Guion Bluford will discuss what it was like to be an African-American man selected to train with NASA in 1979 and become the very first African-American astronaut in space in 1983, as well as the challenges and opportunities faced in general by minority and women astronauts at NASA. Dr. Bluford will also recount his experiences aboard the Challenger and Discovery space shuttles, and talk about his life post-NASA.
Date: Friday, February 16th / Time: 6pm-7pm
Location: Loosemore Auditorium, GVSU Pew Campus/ Cost: Free
More information about Dr. Bluford
More information about diversity at NASA
Talon and Thompson
Durwin Talon (BFA, MA, MFA) and Guin Thompson (BA, MFA) are Professors of Illustration at Grand Valley State University.
Guin Thompson is a cartoonist, illustrator and educator. She worked as a graphic designer before focusing on illustration as an academic subject. She has presented multiple times at the San Diego Comic Con and other conferences, focusing on such topics as sequential storytelling and the experiences of women in illustration. She collaborated with Durwin Talon on Beautiful Scars, a graphic novel about the passing of history and wisdom from an old man to his granddaughter.
Durwin Talon is an illustrator, digital artist and educator. He has written books on the art of comic book illustration and the experiences of comic book artists, Panel Discussions and Comics Above Ground, as well as creating illustrations for DC and Marvel Comics and providing artwork for various games and trading cards.
Keynote Title: Art/Space: NASA Space Art Program and Beyond
Prof. Talon and Prof. Thompson will discuss the interpretation of space exploration through various artistic mediums, focusing on the NASA Space Art Program, built on artists’ ability to respond to, record and communicate NASA’s growing technological and scientific breakthroughs. They will speak about works based in the wonder, tragedy and triumph of exploring our universe.
Date: Friday, February 16th / Time: 11am to 12pm
Location: Loosemore Auditorium, Pew Campus, GVSU / Cost: Free