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Katherine Johnson Will Deliver Hampton University's 2017 Commencement Address

Katherine Johnson Will Deliver Hampton University's 2017 Commencement Address


Just a few months after gracing the Academy Awards stage to be honored for her contributions to NASA's space program, real-life hidden figure Katherine Johnson is set to make her way to another stage. This time, at Hampton University to deliver its 147th Commencement Address. 

The pioneering NASA mathematician earned her Bachelor's degree in mathematics and French from West Virginia State College at the impressive age of 18. By 1953, Johnson was working at the NASA Langley Research Center, where she calculated historic flight trajectories for the first American to go into space, the first American to orbit earth, and the first human trip to the moon. Since her days of working as a human computer, Johnson has received countless awards and honors for her groundbreaking work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama. 

"With her razor-sharp mathematical mind, Katherine G. Johnson helped broaden the scope of space travel, charting new frontiers for humanity’s exploration of space, and creating new possibilities for all humankind," said Obama. "From sending the first American to space to the first moon landing, she played a critical role in many of NASA’s most important milestones. Katherine Johnson refused to be limited by society’s expectations of her gender and race while expanding the boundaries of humanity’s reach."

The Johnson family name has also built its own legacy at Hampton University, as all three of Johnson's daughters and three out of six of her grandchildren graduated from Hampton. Now, Ms. Katherine Johnson will be returning as a commencement speaker, who has already inspired the next generation to reach beyond the stars. 

Hampton University's 2017 Commencement Ceremony is set to be on Sunday, May 14 at 10 a.m.