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February 2013
Guy Bluford ’87 Makes History

Guy Bluford, '87, Makes History

In celebration of Black History Month, we congratulate Guy Bluford, '87 MBA, on his outstanding accomplishments and impact on our university and our nation. On August 30, 2013, Bluford, a trained aerospace engineer, NASA astronaut, UHCL alumnus and UHCL Distinguished Alumnus, will not only celebrate the 30th anniversary of his first space flight, but may also pride himself on being the first African-American in space.

Read more.

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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Did you know that Peggy Johnson, '07, '12, put a smile on Dr. Staples' face?
In our busy world with overwhelming amounts of emails, it is refreshing to receive an email titled "Happy News." That is exactly what happened to UHCL President William A. Staples this past November.

Read more.


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Guy Bluford, '87, Makes History

Guy Bluford ’87 Makes History

NASA's eighth space shuttle launch lights up the Florida sky at 2:32 a.m. (EDT), Aug. 30, 1983. The space shuttle Challenger's third flight is the first to have its beginnings in darkness. Five astronauts and an assortment of experiments are aboard the reusable vehicle. Crew members are astronauts Richard H. Truly, STS-8 commander; Daniel C. Brandenstein, pilot; and Dale A. Gardner, Guion S. Bluford, '87, and William E. Thornton, all mission specialists. Photo credit: NASA

Guy Bluford, '87, Makes History

Astronaut Guion S. Bluford, '87, STS-8 mission specialist, assists Dr. William E. Thornton (out of frame) with a medical test that requires use of the treadmill exercising device designed for spaceflight by the STS-8 medical doctor. This frame was shot with a 35mm camera. Photo credit: NASA

Guy Bluford, '87, Makes History

These five astronauts were the crew members for STS-8 in the space shuttle Challenger. Richard M. Truly, center, is the crew commander. Daniel C. Brandenstein, left, is pilot. The mission specialists are Dale A. Gardner, William E. Thornton (both on back row) and Guion S. Bluford, '87. The backdrop is a Challenger launch and the American flag. Photo credit: NASA


In celebration of Black History Month, we congratulate Guy Bluford, '87 MBA, on his outstanding accomplishments and impact on our university and our nation. On August 30, 2013, Bluford, a trained aerospace engineer, NASA astronaut, UHCL alumnus and UHCL Distinguished Alumnus, will not only celebrate the 30th anniversary of his first space flight, but may also pride himself on being the first African-American in space.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Pa., Bluford always had his eye on flying and aerospace engineering. After graduating from Overbrook High school, he received a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State in 1964, a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1974, and a doctorate in aerospace engineering with a minor in laser physics from AFIT in 1978. He was set for a career in the Air Force until he stumbled upon an ad in the newspaper for the Space Shuttle Program.

"NASA was starting to look for astronauts to fly the Space Shuttle and they opened up the opportunity for scientists and engineers (i.e. mission specialists) to be astronauts. This looked like a great opportunity for me to fulfill my flying requirements in the Air Force, utilize my technical skills, and expand my technical knowledge all at the same time. I could do it as a NASA astronaut. What a deal!" states Bluford.

In January 1978, NASA announced their selection for the eighth astronaut class. Bluford had been selected from more than 1,000 as a part of a group that contained 15 test pilots and twenty mission specialists, including six women and three African-Americans.

More than three years after his arrival to Houston, Bluford received notice of the meeting he had been waiting; a meeting with Mr. George Abby, who at the time was head of the Flight Crew Operations Directorate at Johnson Space Center. Abbey had called Bluford, Dale Gardner and Dan Brandenstein into a meeting with himself and Dick Truly.

George Abbey said, "You know, you guys have really been doing a nice job in supporting the Space Shuttle flights; Dan, you have been working on the various flight data file items. Dale, you've been working software issues, and Guy, you've been performing tests in the SAIL and FSL. I know you guys really enjoy what you're doing: however, I need some astronauts to fly on STS-8 and I was wondering if you guys were interested in flying on STS-8?" All three men eagerly responded, "Yes." This meeting was the first of Bluford's four assignments for travels into space, participating in STS-8, STS-61A, STS-39 and STS-53.

"On Aug. 29, we were awakened at 10 p.m. We had breakfast and suited up for the mission. We put on our NASA blue flight coveralls and then headed downstairs for the van ride to the launch pad. As we climbed into the van that evening, I noticed it was raining. When we completed our preflight checks with the Launch Control Center, the rains began to subside and the clouds began to clear away. Our launch window extended 34 minutes from 2:15 a.m. EDT until 2:49 a.m. EDT. Because of the weather, we launched 17 minutes late at 2:32 a.m. EDT. The ride into orbit was really exciting. The ride up on the SRBs was noisy and bumpy as Challenger lifted off and rotated to align us to a 28.45-degree inclination. The Orbiter pitched down as we headed down range, upside down. It was a great trip. I still remember seeing the African coast and the Sahara desert coming up over the horizon. It was a beautiful sight. Once we completed our OMS burns, I unstrapped from my seat and started floating on the top of the cockpit. I remember saying to myself, "Oh, my goodness, zero-G." And like all the other astronauts before me, I fumbled around in zero-G for quite a while before I got my space legs. However, it was a great feeling, and I knew right away that I was going to enjoy this experience. For the rookie astronauts, it was a fabulous adventure," recalls Bluford.

Bluford made history with the third flight for the Orbiter Challenger being the first African-American in space. What an enormous accomplishment! However, Bluford's journey was not complete. After four space flights and countless hours in training, Bluford felt the overwhelming importance to prepare for life after being an astronaut and applied to University of Houston-Clear Lake. Bluford earned a master's degree in business administration in 1987 and left NASA in July 1993 to begin a position of vice president/general manager of the Engineering Services Division of NYMA Inc. In 1997, he became Vice President of the Aerospace Sector of Federal Data Corporation and in 2000, became the vice president of microgravity R&D and operations for the Northrop Grumman Corporation. Bluford retired from Northrop Grumman in 2002 to become the President of Aerospace Technology.

"I was very proud to have served in the astronaut program and to have participated on four very successful Space Shuttle flights. I also felt very privileged to have been a role model for many youngsters, including African-Americans kids, who aspired to be scientists, engineers and astronauts in this country. For me, being a NASA astronaut was a great experience I will always cherish," states Bluford.

Bluford was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame in 1997, the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2010 and recognized as a UHCL Distinguished Alumnus in 2003.

*Portions of this article were taken from the NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project, conducted on August 2, 2004 by Jennifer Ross-Nazzal, assisted by Sandra Johnson, '90, and Rebecca Wright, '83

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Why pursue a certificate program when you already have a degree?

Why pursue a certificate program when you already have a degree?That's a great question!

  • Completing a continuing education certificate program shows prospective and current employers that you have recent professional level training in a specific field.
  • You'll receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for many of the courses, which may fulfill continuing education requirements for specific professions.
  • Certificate programs provide an edge that separates one professional from another.

The Center for Advanced Management Programs offers all types of professional certificate programs and other open enrollment programs. Certificate programs can be completed in as little as a few months or, if needed, up to three years. CAMP also offers in-house programs for companies who want to provide on-site training for their employees.

Some of our programs include the following:

  • Federal Acquisition & Contracting Certificate
  • Master's Level Project Management Certificate
  • Test prep courses for Real Estate, GRE, GMAT, SAT and PCAT

We're also very excited to announce two new programs:

  • Management and Leadership Certificate Program, taught by UHCL Associate Director of Organizational Development Ron Klinger
  • Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, taught by the Institute for Supply Management, the premier education association for procurement and supply management professionals.

UHCL alumni receive a 10% discount on face-to-face courses offered by CAMP with your UHCL Alumni Association Membership I.D. To request an I.D. card online, visit the alumni website. For more information on CAMP, visit www.uhcl.edu/camp or call 281-283-3121.

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Did you know that Peggy Johnson, '07, '12, put a smile on Dr. Staples' face?

Did you know that Peggy Johnson, ’07, ’12, put a smile on Dr. Staples’ face?

Peggy's daughter, Kirby Anderson, '03, '05, Peggy Johnson, '07, '12, and her son-in-law Jonathon Anderson

Did you know that Peggy Johnson, '07, '12, put a smile on Dr. Staples' face?

Peggy Johnson, '07, '12, and her son, Edward Johnson, '05


In our busy world with overwhelming amounts of emails, it is refreshing to receive an email titled "Happy News." That is exactly what happened to UHCL President William A. Staples this past November. The email was from Peggy Johnson, '07, '12, a UHCL alumna and employee. Her email explained the deep ties to UHCL that she, as well as her daughter, son and son-in-law, share, along with her great appreciation for the education she received as a student.

"UHCL is a wonderful place of learning and the success stories an education here produces are bountiful. Thank you very much for your superb leadership in creating such a high-quality learning environment—I am so proud that my children (and I) attained our educational dreams at this university!" Peggy stated within the closing sentence of her "Happy News" email.

Peggy, a mother of two, worked full-time, as many of our students do, and attended the university alongside her son and daughter. Johnson says she felt a personal connection from the minute she stepped on campus and truly believes UHCL provides a quality education with a personal touch: a wonderful community. Since beginning at UHCL with her B.A. in Literature, Peggy went on to earn a M.A. in Literature in 2012 and works as the associate director in UHCL's Office of Institutional Research.

Peggy's daughter, Kirby Anderson, was the first family member to graduate from UHCL with her B.A. in 2003, next she completed her M.S. in Instructional Technology in 2005 and she is currently in the final stages of completing her thesis for UHCL's Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. Kirby is now employed as an assistant principal at Southmore Intermediate School in Pasadena ISD. Both Kirby and her mother took classes together for their bachelor's degrees and loved every minute of it. They speak highly of the support from their advisor Professor of Literature Craig White and the sense of "home" and "family" he brings to the university. Mother and daughter still stay in constant contact with White and water the graduation plants, given to them by White, on a regular basis; although, Hilda, Peggy's plant, may need a little TLC.

Johnson's son, Edward Johnson, graduated in 2005 with a B.S. in Management Information Systems. He is now employed as an investigator with the federal government and continues his education by working toward his master's in Forensic Psychology at Argosy University. Even from afar, Edward proudly wears his UHCL lanyard and describes the wonderful UHCL atmosphere to those who ask. He and his wife Tiffy have one son, Kade (8 months), who is already in recruitment stages from the rest of the family to attend UHCL; future class of 2031!

Peggy Johnson is a true testimony to the personal connections and family atmosphere that encompass UH-Clear Lake. Her love of the university spills through to her children; to her son-in-law, Jonathon Anderson, who is a current applicant for the fall 2013 Master of Arts in Literature; and far beyond her family. The UHCL Alumni Association thanks you, Peggy, for your dedication and support and for the smiles that you put on our faces with your "Happy News." You are a treasure to UHCL!

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