It's not every town or every college that can boast a direct connection to an astronaut. That's why on Saturday, October 12, Columbus Day, the town of South Hadley and Mount Holyoke College will honor space traveler Dan Barry, who was a member of the space shuttle Endeavour's ten-day mission in January. South Hadley resident Barry, husband of MHC biology professor Susan Barry, took a replica of a key to Mount Holyoke's original seminary building on his flight. This weekend, he'll return it, presenting it to special assistant to the president Madelaine Marquez, along with a certificate from NASA authenticating the key's voyage into space.
<<< Dan Barry
On Saturday, under the theme "Exploration and Education," the town and College will host Dan Barry Day. Festivities will begin at 10 am with a parade of school children, local officials, MHC community members, civic organizations, antique cars, and bands along Route 116, down Church Street, to the Gettell Amphitheater. After the parade, at 11 am, there will be a ceremony at the amphitheater in which the board of selectmen will honor Barry. Throughout the rest of the day, until 4 pm, there will be a wide range of activities for children and adults on the Mount Holyoke campus.
These events will include slide presentations and autograph sessions with Dan Barry in Chapin Auditorium, a continuous showing in Gamble of a videotape of the Endeavour's launch; construction of model aircraft, and other activities on Skinner Green; and, in Carr and Clapp Laboratories, a series of hands-on science activities put together by MHC faculty and South Hadley schoolteachers and students.
"The hands-on projects between our faculty and the schools are really catching on," noted local selectwoman and biology department senior administrative assistant Linda Young. "The parade is coming together, and the Mount Holyoke community is responding enthusiastically to participating on Dan Barry Day." Young has been instrumental in pulling the day together.
During the January 11-20 mission of space shuttle flight STS-72, its six-member crew retrieved two satellites. Three of Endeavour's astronauts, including Barry, conducted two space walks to test hardware and tools that will be used in assembly of the International Space Station. This was Barry's first space shuttle mission.