Charles Bolden Jr., NASA’s first Black administrator, was nominated for the post in 2009 by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate that same year. Bolden nearly saw his career take another course in the early ’60’s, but he used his connections and a bit of humility to aid his quest to enter the U.S. Naval Academy.
Born August 19, 1946 in Columbia, South Carolina, Bolden was a football player at C.A. Johnson High School. Bolden was determined to enter the Academy. When he found out that a vice president can nominate anyone to the Academy while the president can only nominate the children of military personnel, he wrote a letter to then V.P. Lyndon B. Johnson to request his nomination.
Bolden saw his dreams dashed in November of 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. With Johnson elevated to president, Bolden moved to request that his state representatives nominate him for the Academy. But the elected officials in South Carolina, including notoriously racist Sen. Strom Thurmond, didn’t endorse Bolden due to his race.
Bolden then contacted Johnson and reminded the sitting president of their earlier correspondence. Eventually, Bolden was nominated by Rep. William Dawson of Chicago and he entered the Academy in 1964. After earning his degree in Electrical Science in 1968, he became an aviator with the U.S. Marine Corps and flew over 100 missions.
The Omega Psi Phi fraternity member earned his master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. Two years later, Bolden completed courses at the United States Naval Test Pilot School and was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate in 1980. In 1981, Bolden’s astronaut appointment was official and he flew four space missions between 1986 and 1994.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A year to the day after kicking off his victorious re-election campaign on this college campus, President Barack Obama returned to Ohio State University and told graduates that only through vigorous participation in their democracy can they right a poorly functioning government and break through relentless cynicism about the nation’s future.
“I dare you, Class of 2013, to do better. I dare you to dream bigger,” Obama said.
In a sunbaked stadium filled with more than 57,000 students, friends and relatives, Obama lamented an American political system that gets consumed by “small things” and works for the benefit of society’s elite. He called graduates to duty to “accomplish great things,” like rebuilding a still-feeble economy and fighting poverty and climate change.
“Only you can ultimately break that cycle. Only you can make sure the democracy you inherit is as good as we know it can be,” Obama told more than 10,000 cap-and-gown-clad graduates gathered for the rite of passage. “But it requires your dedicated, informed and engaged citizenship.”
The visit to Ohio State — the first of three commencement addresses Obama will give this season — was a homecoming of sorts for Obama, who has visited the campus five times over little more than a year, starting with his first official campaign rally here last May. He made many more stops elsewhere in Ohio as he and Republican Mitt Romney dueled for the Midwestern state which was pivotal to Obama’s victories in both 2008 and 2012.
(L to R) Ronald Allen, Keith Hawkins, and Jacob Tzegaegbe
In 1953 the Marshall Scholarships program was established by an act of the British Parliament. Funded by the British government, the program is a national gesture of thanks to the American people for aid received under the Marshall Plan, the U.S.-financed program that led to the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. The scholarships provide funds for up to two years of study at a British university, and include money for travel, living expenses, and books. Applicants must earn a degree at an American college or university with a minimum of a 3.7 grade point average. The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission is authorized to award up to 40 scholarships each year. This year 34 scholarships were awarded. It appears from JBHE research, that three of the 34 winners are African Americans.
Ronald Allen is a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He will be commissioned into the Marine Corps in May. A native of Seattle, he plans to study for a master’s degree in public policy at King’s College in London.
Keith Hawkins is a senior at Ohio University in Athens. He is an astrophysics major in the university’s Honors Tutorial College. Last summer he spent time conducting research at Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii. He will pursue a Ph.D. in astronomy at Cambridge University. An avid bicyclist, he routinely bikes 50 to 60 miles each weekend.
Jacob Tzegaegbe is a 2011 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in civil engineering. This May he will earn a master’s degree in civil engineering. His research focused on bus rapid transit systems in African cities. With his Marshall Scholarship, he will pursue a Ph.D. in planning studies at University College London.