Kerrville, TX – Schreiner University is proud to present TexS Talks. The TexS Talks event is modeled after the famous TEDx speeches given around the world. However, instead of one speech this event will provide four independent speeches covering a variety of topics dealing with space and its connection to Texas. TexS Talks will be held on Apr 20, at 7:30 p.m., in the Ferguson-Dietert Chapel of the Junkin Campus Ministry Center. This entertaining and informative event is free and open to the public. Free parking will be provided. TexS Talks is made possible through a coordinated effort between The Mountaineer Leadership Academy, The Texas Center at Schreiner University and The Kerrville Area Toastmasters.
TexS Talks will showcase four speeches that will illustrate the unique and important role Texas plays on the space program. The speakers for the event are Gerald (Gerry) Griffin – former Director of the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston and Flight Director for the Apollo manned missions, COL Michael Fossum – former Commander of the International Space Station, Jeff Stone – former Space Shuttle In-Flight Maintenance (IFM) Engineer, and Dr. Kim Arvidsson – Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Schreiner University.
Gerald D. (Gerry) Griffin is the former Director of the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. His career in the United States space program began in 1960 and has included senior positions in government and industry. At NASA, in addition to his position as Director of the Johnson Space Center, he also served as the Deputy Director of the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Hugh F. Dryden Flight Research Center in California. Griffin also held the posts of Associate Administrator for External Relations and Assistant Administrator for Legislative Affairs at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. In the private sector, he held senior engineering posts with Lockheed and General Dynamics.
During NASA’s Apollo Program, Griffin was a Flight Director in Mission Control and served in this capacity for all of the Apollo manned missions. He was Lead Flight Director for three lunar landing missions: Apollo’s 12, 15 and 17. During the flight of Apollo 13, Griffin was scheduled to lead the lunar landing team in Mission Control. When the landing was canceled after the oxygen tank explosion, he led one of the teams of flight controllers who were responsible for the safe return of the astronauts.
Griffin was a technical advisor for the movie Apollo 13, a Universal Studios picture starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard. In February 1997, he finished his second movie, Contact, a Warner Brothers picture starring Jodie Foster and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the director of Forrest Gump. In Contact, Griffin was a technical advisor and actor. In September 1997, Griffin began working as a technical advisor for the movie, Deep Impact, a production of Dream Works SKG, a Steven Spielberg company.
After taking early retirement from NASA in 1986, Griffin was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Houston Chamber of Commerce, a post he held until 1989 when he joined Korn/Ferry International, a worldwide executive search firm, as the Managing Director of the firm’s Houston office. Today, Griffin is a technical and management consultant for a broad range of clients. He remains a Senior Consultant for Korn/Ferry International where he conducts search assignments for very senior level executives. Griffin is also Chairman of the Board of Comarco, Inc., a California public corporation traded on NASDAQ.
Griffin is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award of Texas A&M University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. He also is the recipient of the Texas A&M University College of Engineering Alumni Honor Award, the Tau Beta Pi Eminent Engineer Award, and the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor Award. Griffin holds the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Houston Clear Lake. Griffin is a Senior Fellow of the Eaker Institute for Aerospace Studies and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Astronautical Society and the British Interplanetary Society.
COL. Michael E. Fossum currently serves as a Vice President of Texas A&M University, the Chief Operating Officer of the Galveston Campus and the Superintendent of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy. Fossum joined Texas A&M following his retirement from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – Johnson Space Center in 2017.
Fossum is a veteran of three space flights with more than 194 days in space and more than 48 hours in seven spacewalks during his 19 years as an astronaut. During his last mission in 2011, Fossum served as the Commander of the International Space Station. He has logged over 2,000 hours in 35 different aircraft throughout the course of his career. Fossum earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Air Force in 1980. He is also a graduate of the US Air Force Test Pilot School and has earned Master of Science degrees in Systems Engineering and Physical Science.
Jeff Stone joined the US Air Force in 1978 and was assigned duty as a tactical fighter maintenance specialist. This fortuitous event led to a career of training, contacts, travel and experiences that were greatly fulfilling and hopefully a benefit to others. His active-duty experience included working on F-4s and F-5s, followed by T-38 depot maintenance as a civilian. Stone later graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a degree in Professional Aeronautics in 1988.
In 1989, Stone applied for a job at the Johnson Space Center Mission Control Center and was hired as an engineer to support In-Flight Maintenance (IFM), a Space Shuttle flight control position which responded to the classic phrase, “Houston, we have a problem”. IFM worked with systems specialists to figure out solutions to electrical, plumbing or structural issues faced inside the cabin during orbital flight. Pre-flight crew training was also a large part of the job, providing astronauts with knowledge of tools,
methods and access to areas for repairs. Stone worked almost 100 Shuttle flights in the MCC and trained many crews.
After 10 years, he moved into engineering and program management, primarily focused on engineering support for Shuttle environmental control systems, including sub-system manager of the Waste Collection System (WCS). This provided the chance to fly on NASA’s zero-g airplane 7 times for a total of about 2 hours of zero-g, 35 seconds at a time. He was honored to serve on the last shift of the last Space Shuttle flight, STS-135, and witness the historical end of an amazing effort in manned spaceflight.
For more information about this event contact Dr. Matt Goodwyn, Assistant Dean of Students at Schreiner University, at firstname.lastname@example.org.