Pictured from left, Dr. Garland Green, Dr. Donna Grant, Mrs. Gloria B. Moultrie, Mrs. Katherine Johnson and Chancellor Lisa Mims-Devezin.
Dr. Lisa Mims-Devezin, chancellor of Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), and two University officials traveled to Newport News, Va., June 3, 2017 to present an honorary degree to Mrs. Katherine Johnson, one of NASA's human 'computers' who performed the complex calculations that enabled humans to successfully achieve space flights.
The University conferred the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree for Mrs. Johnson during the May 13, 2017 Commencement in the Lakefront Arena. Mrs. Johnson’s granddaughter and SUNO Alumna, Katherine Michele Boykin Sanders, accepted the degree on her grandmother’s behalf.
During the brief June 3, 2017 ceremony, Chancellor Mims-Devezin presented the Degree Citation. The hood was presented by Dr. Donna Grant, vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management; and Mrs. Gloria B. Moultrie, chief administrative officer for Community Outreach, Alumni Affairs and Public Relations.
Mrs. Sanders and Mrs. Johnson’s two daughters, Joylette G. Hylick and Katherine G. Moore, opened the ceremony with greetings. Dr. Garland Green, a SUNO graduate and retired transportation program planner for the U.S. Department of Treasury, certified the degree. Dr. Green, who graduated from SUNO in 1964 with a degree in Geography, was selected to assist in drafting lunar maps that identified the landing site for the Apollo 11 Lunar Mission. The landing site was designated by NASA for Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to land on the moon where they planted the U.S. flag.
“It was such an honor to present the degree to Mrs. Johnson in person,” Chancellor Mims-Devezin said. “Her contributions to the U.S. Space Program had been hidden for too long. Southern University at New Orleans is proud to bestow this honorary degree on such a distinguished mathematician. Her contributions are a true testament to the capabilities of women in the STEM discipline. Because of her contributions, many minorities can truly say that they stand on the shoulders of a giant.
“We also were proud to have such a distinguished alumnus as Dr. Green to participate in the ceremony, the Chancellor added. “His contributions to the Space Program are remarkable.”