Monday, February 20, 2012

"Godspeed, John Glenn!"

With those words, on a cold February morning in 1962 Friendship 7 was launched into orbit. It was four days after my birth. Perhaps this is one reason I have always been a fan of spaceflight. Perhaps it was the fact that I grew-up in proximity to the space coast. Whatever the case, I have always found the concept of man in space fascinating!

It is one reason that I prefer my university's old logo to the new one. When I was going there, the logo on all the UCF. Heck! To be truthful, the connection to space is one of the reasons I chose the University of Central Florida in the first place.

In the classic "Pegasus" logo, the design is reminiscent of the oriental Yin-Yan circle with one half the circle being composed of the wing of the Pegasus. The body of the beast projects into the other half of the circle which represents space. The pole star (Polaris representing guidance or direction) shines at the top-center of the circle. The legend "Reach for the stars" forms the mane of the Pegasus.

It is, in my opinion, such a forward-looking, optimistic kind of logo. In much the same way that John Glenn's 1662 flight was a harbinger of the space age. But there are other connections to space at the university.

The space coast, only sixty miles to the east of the Bithlo, Florida campus, is the primary reason for the university's location. It was originally built as a training ground for the space race. Engineering and Computer science were among the first schools to graduate classes back in the sixties.

The dorms are perfectly located to watch launches at the cape. I saw all but one of the Shuttle launches during the early eighties from my dorm room in the D-Dorm (now named Polk Hall).

So, being born so close to the day we Americans first loosed the bonds of our home planet's gravity has made me love the idea of space travel.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will take a look back to this historic occasion and that it keeps you looking up to the stars!

Don Bergquist - February 20, 2012 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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