– Florida Institute of Technology, a university founded by scientists with deep roots in America’s space program, will dedicate a new residence hall
complex in memory of the Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew. It is believed that this will be the first such recognition in the nation. A formal
dedication is scheduled for Oct. 28, 2003.
The complex will be named Columbia Village, and each of the seven residence halls will bear the name of one of the seven Columbia astronauts. The halls
will be named in memory of Col. Rick D. Husband, Commander William C. McCool, Capt. David M. Brown, Dr. Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson, Capt.
Laurel B. Clark, and Col. Ilan Ramon.
Florida Tech President Anthony James Catanese said the decision to dedicate the village in memory of Columbia was student-driven.
“Our students, particularly those planning careers in the aerospace industry, were deeply moved and saddened by Columbia’s tragic loss,” said Catanese.
“Our student government leaders felt this was the best way for the university to express these feelings, and the administration agreed.”
Dr. Jerome Keuper, a RCA scientist at Cape Canaveral, founded Florida Institute of Technology in 1958 at the beginning of the space race. Initially
dedicated to providing America’s space program with more master’s and Ph.D.-level scientists, Florida Tech today offers degrees in a variety of
space-related fields, including aerospace engineering and the space sciences.
The Columbia Village will not be the first memorial to America’s space program on campus. Grissom Hall was dedicated in the memory of Gus Grissom, who
received an honorary doctorate from Florida Tech in 1962. In addition, there is a memorial to the Space Shuttle Challenger located in the center of campus
at a spot where students gather to watch launches from Kennedy Space Center.