LAWRENCE — Retired NASA astronauts and University of Kansas alumni Joe Engle and Steven Hawley will be grand marshals of the KU Homecoming Parade at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, on Massachusetts Street in downtown Lawrence. A meet and greet with Kansas Athletics will precede the parade from 4 to 5 p.m. at South Park.
The theme for KU’s 105th Homecoming is “Jayhawks of the Galaxy.”
Engle, a Chapman native and 1955 School of Engineering graduate, was a member of the NASA Class of 1966. He trained for the Apollo 14 and Apollo 17 moon missions before commanding Space Shuttle Columbia, the second shuttle mission, on Nov. 12, 1981. Four years later, he commanded Space Shuttle Discovery. He has been inducted in the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame, the Astronaut Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1982, he received the University’s Distinguished Service Citation and was recognized as a Distinguished Engineering Alumnus.
Hawley, a Salina native who graduated in 1973 with a degree in astronomy, is a member of the NASA Class of 1978. He served as mission specialist on five space shuttle flights from 1984 to 1999 and logged more than 770 hours in space. He has received several awards from NASA and has been inducted in the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame. In 1998, he received the University’s Distinguished Service Citation, and he received the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. He is a professor in the department of physics and astronomy at KU.
KU alumnus and former astronaut Ron Evans, who joined Engle in NASA’s Class of 1966 and served as command module pilot on Apollo 17, died in 1990. The University’s newest astronaut candidate, Loral O’Hara, graduated from the School of Engineering in 2006. She is currently in NASA’s two-year training program.
The parade is part of a weeklong celebration that begins Sunday, Oct. 1, and includes several student and alumni activities, including competitions, community service opportunities and reunions, all of which lead up to the KU-Texas Tech football game Saturday, Oct. 7, in Memorial Stadium. A complete schedule of Homecoming week activities can be found at kualumni.org/homecoming.
The student-led Homecoming Steering Committee is directed by Nellie Kassebaum, a Burdick junior in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She works with Alumni Association adviser Jacey Krehbiel, assistant director of membership and business development.
About the KU Alumni Association
Through the support of members and donors, the KU Alumni Association advocates for the University of Kansas, communicates with Jayhawks in all media, recruits students and volunteers, serves the KU community and unites Jayhawks. For more information, visit kualumni.org.
Photos: Steven Hawley (by Steve Puppe) and Joe Engel (contributed)