Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

October is here and the Tarleton campus will soon be in full swing with preparations for Homecoming! Recognizing our alumni is always a big part of Homecoming. In 2008 and 2009 two national events celebrated anniversaries. October 1, 1958 marked the beginning of NASA, making 2008 its 50th anniversary! And 2009 is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo program, including the Apollo moon landing on July 20, 1969! This summer the Dick Smith Library featured a display on NASA and on the Apollo moon landing. Today's blog features Tarleton Alum Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford, a former NASA payload specialist!

Millie Hughes-Fulford received her BS degree in chemistry and biology from Tarleton State College in 1968. She then began her graduate work studying plasma chemistry at Texas Woman's University as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, completing her doctorate in 1972. She joined the faculty of Southwestern Medical School, University of Texas, Dallas as a postdoctoral fellow, with her research focusing on the regulation of cholesterol metabolism. She has contributed over 90 papers and abstracts on bone and cancer growth regulation.

Selected as a payload specialist by NASA in January 1983, Dr. Hughes-Fulford flew in June 1991 aboard STS-40 Spacelab Life Sciences, the first Spacelab mission dedicated to biomedical studies. It flew over 3.2 million miles in 146 orbits and its crew completed over 18 experiments during a 9 day period bringing back more medical data than any previous NASA flight. Mission duration was 218 hours, 14 minutes and 20 seconds.

Currently Dr. Hughes-Fulford is an Adjunct Professor at the University of California Medical Center at San Francisco where she continues her research. As Director of the Laboratory for Cell Growth and Scientific Advisor to the UnderSecretary of Veteran's Affairs, she studies the control of human prostate cancer growth with VA grants and the regulation of bone and lymphocyte activation with NASA grants. (Biographical information: )

Dr. Hughes-Fulford was awarded Tarleton's Distinguished Alumna in 1990. She recalled fondly her days at Tarleton and said faculty members such as Provost Emeritus Dr. Robert Fain, Associate Professor Emeritus Joy Terry, and Professor Emeritus Dr. Sam McInnis had been very important in her educational background. She also remembered that long time chemistry lab manager George Weidebusch had "saved her life" many times by making sure she had turned off all the equipment at the end of an experiment! She concluded by saying that "I am proud to be from Tarleton and thank you for this special recognition". (Alumni J-TAC, Homecoming edition, 1990, p.14)


Yvonne said...

Great blog post! I had no idea Tarleton had an astronaut alumna. :0)

Tracy said...

Great Post Glenda! Glad you are back!