40 years ago, the six surviving Mercury 7 Astronauts (Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton), Betty Grissom, William Douglas, M.D. and Henri Landwirth established the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF). Since its inception, the ASF had the mission of retaining the United States world leadership in technology and innovation to support the very best and brightest scholars in STEM while commemorating the legacy of America’s pioneering astronauts. From the original 7 scholarships in 1984, $8.3 million Astronaut Scholarships have been awarded to 790+ Astronaut Scholars from 48 universities across the nation to date.
Dr. William Douglas and Dr. Al Miller, key contributors to the ASF’s success, played vital roles in shaping its legacy and recounted their experiences beautifully in these documents. Dr. Douglas was the Project Mercury surgeon and a founder of the ASF. Dr. Miller was the first Scholarship Selection Chairman who designed ASF’s unique process for obtaining nominations and selecting the top college students studying STEM. He was also one of the members who helped kickstart the Astronaut Scholars Honor Society, an alumni network that ensures all scholarship award recipients have a lifelong relationship with the Foundation.
Watch the video below to learn more about why our founders established the Mercury 7 Foundation, now known as the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.