West Virginia State University to Honor Katherine Johnson with Statue, Scholarship

6/3/2018
Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
Jbaile19@wvstateu.edu
 
 
May 31, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
West Virginia State University to Honor Katherine Johnson with Statue, Scholarship
 
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – West Virginia State University (WVSU) and the WVSU Foundation have undertaken a fundraising campaign to honor distinguished NASA mathematician and WVSU alumna Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson with the establishment of an endowed scholarship and the erection of a bronze statue on campus.

A dedication ceremony for the statue and scholarship is planned for Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, the day before Johnson’s 100th birthday. The statue will be placed in WVSU’s quad, the heart of campus, with accompanying seating and landscaping.

“Rarely are we presented an opportunity to attach ourselves to a historic moment. I believe this is one of those times,” said WVSU President Anthony L. Jenkins. “Despite her numerous accomplishments, she never forgot WVSU, White Sulphur Springs, nor the state she loves so dear. Then, as throughout her life, Katherine has embodied the true essence of a West Virginian; strong values, unbreakable resolve, and a work ethic that is second to none.”

The life-sized bronze statue depicting Johnson during her years as a mathematician at NASA will be created by West Virginia sculptor Frederick Hightower, an alumnus of WVSU.

The endowed scholarship will build upon Johnson’s legacy as a pioneer in mathematics and will benefit students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with emphasis on assisting talented individuals who are underrepresented in those fields. WVSU seeks to endow the scholarship at $100,000.

Donors who give $1,000 or more by June 30, 2018, will have their names engraved on a plaque next to the statue. Organizations that give $25,000 or more will be recognized with a separate plaque.

Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, the highest award that can be bestowed upon a civilian. A native of White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Johnson first came to Institute at the age of 10 to attend the high school that used to be part of West Virginia State’s campus. After graduating from high school at age 15, she immediately enrolled for college classes at West Virginia State. Johnson excelled in her studies and graduated summa cum laude in 1937 at the age of 18 with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and French.

Johnson’s pioneering work as a “computer” at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and later at NASA, has been widely recognized following publication of the book, “Hidden Figures,” and by the movie of the same name.

For more information, please contact Patricia Schumann, Vice President for University Advancement, at (304) 766-3021 or patricia.schumann@wvstateu.edu or visit https://connect.wvstateu.edu/katherinejohnson.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
 
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