“From Here It’s Possible: West Texas Goes to the Stars” – A New Exhibit at the SWC

Willie McCool portrait

The Southwest Collection has created a new exhibit entitled “From Here It’s Possible: West Texas Goes to the Stars,” featuring items from our many aerospace collections, as well as oral histories conducted with astronauts and NASA employees with West Texas and Texas Tech connections. This blog shares a few examples of featured individuals, but the exhibit displays many more. It will be installed by mid-February, and will be up until mid-June. Make sure to stop by and check it out!

William “Willie” McCool (above) was a graduate of Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas. From there he attended the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1983. During his naval tenure he earned a master’s in computer science from the University of Maryland, and in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Commander McCool served as a test pilot for the U.S. Navy, flying over 24 different types of aircraft. He joined NASA in 1996, and was the pilot of the Space Shuttle Columbia on the STS-107 mission.

Ginger K.Portrait BEST

Ginger Kerrick was born in El Paso, Texas, and spent her youth dreaming of a future career in space and athletics. A knee injury early in her college years led her to focus full-time on science education, and she transferred to Texas Tech where she earned her B.S. in 1991 and M.S. in 1993, both in the field of physics. She has now been employed for over two decades with NASA, holding multiple positions, most notably the first non-astronaut capsule communicator in 2001 and flight director in 2005, making her the first Hispanic female to hold that position.

Bernard Harris signed BEST-ADJ

Bernard Harris was an Astronaut, Mission Specialist, and EVA space walker on Space Shuttle Missions STS-55 and STS-63. He received his medical degree from Texas Tech School of Medicine in 1982, then later served on the Board of Regents of Texas Tech University.

Albert SaccoADJ

Albert Sacco was an Astronaut and Payload Specialist on Space Shuttle Mission STS-73. He is currently Dean of the College of Engineering, Texas Tech University.

Rick Husband1portraitBEST

Rick Husband graduated from Texas Tech in 1980 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Soon after, he joined the U.S. Air Force where he flew F-4 Phantoms, served as an instructor pilot and academic instructor at postings in the U.S. and Great Britain, and became an accomplished test pilot, flying over 40 different types of aircraft during his career. In 1994 NASA selected Col. Husband as an astronaut candidate, eventually assigning him the role of pilot on the space shuttle Discovery during its 10-day journey to the International Space Station on the STS-96 mission in 1999. He served as Commander of the space shuttle Columbia on the STS-107 mission.

But y’all – there are so many more West Texans and Texas Tech alumni featured in the exhibit. We encourage you to visit us and learn all about them!

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Women Who Shaped Texas Tech – 2017

For the last several years, our University Archives Women’s History Month exhibit entitled “The Women Who Shaped Texas Tech” has graced our hallways. It celebrates women whose influence on Texas Tech University is still felt today. This year’s honorees represent some of the best and brightest contributors to Tech’s excellence.

Head - Ginger Kerrick-B.W.

Ginger Kerrick was born on November 28, 1969, in El Paso, Texas, and spent her youth dreaming of a future career in space and athletics. A knee injury early in her college years led her to focus full-time on science education, and so she transferred to Texas Tech University with the help of scholarships and student job opportunities procured by Dr. Walter Borst of the Physics Department. She earned her B.S. in 1991 and her M.S. in 1993, both in the field of physics. An internship with the Johnson Space Center got her foot in NASA’s door, and her dogged determination to gain full-time employment with the agency proved successful despite a hiring freeze and disqualification from the astronaut interview process due to a health issue. Employed for over two decades with NASA, Ginger held multiple positions, most notably as the first non-astronaut capsule communicator in 2001 and as a flight director in 2005. She is the first Hispanic female to hold that position.

Jeanine b.w.-1

Jeannine McHaney is credited with establishing and growing Texas Tech’s women’s athletic program. She began her career at the university in 1965 as an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. In 1966 she was appointed the Women’s Intramural Director and given a measly annual budget of $500 to run the program. It was only able to exist due in part to coaches contributing their time for free. In addition, Jeannine served as the volleyball and gymnastics coach. With the enactment of Title IX in 1975, Jeannine was appointed as the first Women’s Athletic Director and, during her 10-year term in that role, she grappled with issues such as inadequate funding and poor facilities for women’s athletic teams. Over the course of her 28 years with TTU, Jeannine was influential in women’s athletics in both the Southwest Athletic Conference and the NCAA. Among her many accolades was being named the 1993 Administrator of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

fuentes

Born in 1949 in San Angelo, Texas, Tina Fuentes knew from a young age that art was her calling. She accordingly channeled her passion, strength, and understanding of the fundamentals of composition, perspective, and color into becoming a nationally recognized multi-media artist. She earned a B.F.A. in 1973 and an M.F.A. in 1975 from North Texas State University. Tina specializes in the areas of painting, drawing, and printmaking. Since 1982 her work has been featured in numerous one-woman and multi-artist exhibitions, as well as a documentary film, El Arte de Tina Fuentes that was broadcast on PBS. She has received several artist-in-residence awards, faculty awards, and research grants, with the most recent being a sizable National Science Foundation collaborative grant with TTU Atmospheric Science Professor Eric Bruning. Tina also shares her love of art with students through a long teaching career that began in 1972 in the Abilene I.S.D. and continues into 2017 at Texas Tech, where she is a tenured professor in the School of Art.