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Purdue Archives exhibiting donation from astronaut alumnus


A Purdue alumnus is giving materials from his 32 year NASA career to the university’s archives. Jerry Ross received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Purdue in the 1970s, and his time with the U.S. space program included a world-record seven shuttle launches. 

Tracy Grimm oversees the Barron Hilton Archives for Flight and Space Exploration at Purdue. She says the collections rely on donations from alumni who were involved with aviation at all levels.

"Oh, it's like Christmas, getting a box from a donor. And it's always a surprise when you open up the box and just see what it is. In Jerry's case, when I opened the boxes, there were his documents from before the first shuttle flight."

Grimm says Ross’s donation includes materials from his college days and thank you letters from the families of other astronauts.

"Jerry kept all of his course notebooks from when he was an engineering student here at Purdue, so those are absolutely fabulous to see especially for current students to see, 'Oh, you know, he was really a student here, he did those formulas and look what he accomplished.'"

The donation comes as Ross is preparing to release a book at the end of January on his experiences, which is published by Purdue University Press.

Grimm says Ross’s motivation for turning over his documents is to get students interested in science and space exploration. After the exhibit ends February 22nd, Ross’s resources will stay with the university’s Barron Hilton Flight and Space Exploration Archives.

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