Press Releases  |  4.12.1995

President George H.W. Bush Award

Challenger Center

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Since its creation in 1995, the distinguished President George H.W. Bush Award, Challenger Center’s highest honor, has only been presented to four individuals for their demonstration of compassion, encouragement, and commitment to Challenger Center.:

  • Former NASA educator astronaut Barbara Morgan (2007)
  • Former NASA astronaut William Readdy (2011)
  • Former NASA astronaut Dr. Kathryn Sullivan (2012)
  • Senator Barbara Mikulski (2013) 

At the time of the Challenger accident in 1986, Vice President Bush was the first person to express his grief and great sorrow to the Challenger families, speaking for himself, the President, and the grieving nation. He personally extended his hand to the families with a simple gesture, giving Dr. June Scobee Rodgers a note with his home phone number and the message, “Call if you need us.” He was the first to support the Challenger families in their efforts to create Challenger Center for Space Science Education. In the years following the tragedy, Former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush continued to provide leadership and guidance.

In April 1995, the Challenger families gathered in Washington, D.C., with friends and Former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush. During this time, Challenger Center presented them with the Challenger Center Presidential Award. The award was given to recognize the impact that their leadership had in fulfilling the dream of the family members to create a living legacy that would honor their loved ones and continue the crew’s educational mission. In appreciation of their continued support, the Challenger Center Presidential Award became the President George H. W. Bush Award.

“The Mission of Challenger Center is to spark in our young people an interest – and a joy – in science. A spark that can change their lives and help make American enterprise the envy of the world.”

– Former President George H.W. Bush