Astronaut Fred Gregory to speak, honor MSU’s newest Astronaut Scholarship recipients

Fred Gregory smiles for the camera while seated in front of the American flag.
Fred Gregory (Submitted photo)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College and the Office of Prestigious External Scholarships are welcoming Astronaut Fred Gregory to the Starkville campus Tuesday [Oct. 29] for a special presentation.

From 3:30-5 p.m. in Griffis Hall’s Honors Forum Room 401C, NASA’s first African-American Deputy Administrator will discuss his leadership within NASA, as well as its Space Shuttle program. His talk is free and open to the public.

Gregory, also a former test pilot, manager of flight safety programs and launch support operations, will present the prestigious $10,000 Astronaut Scholarship to a pair of students in MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College and the Bagley College of Engineering.

Senior biomedical engineering major Mary Catherine Beard of Lufkin, Texas, and senior mechanical engineering major Jacob Easley of Starkville are among just 52 students nationwide named to the 2019 Astronaut Scholar Class by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. The nonprofit was established in 1984 by former NASA astronauts to provide scholarships to the nation’s brightest college students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Mississippi State is one of only 14 schools to have multiple winners this year.

Beard and Easley are the second and third Mississippi State students to earn the Astronaut Scholarship. Alumnus Phong Ly received the accolade last year as a senior civil engineering major.

The MSU partnership with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is made possible by a generous gift from the family of MSU alumnus Ray Gildea.

For more on the Shackouls Honors College, visit; Bagley College of Engineering at

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