HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Aug. 13, 2014) — Dr. John Gregory, who for more than 45 years at UAH has taught and conducted research reaching from subatomic particles into the farthest reaches of space, will receive NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal on Thursday in a ceremony at NASA Headquarters.
In recent years affiliated with UAH’s Earth System Science Center, Gregory has also been director of the award-winning Alabama Space Grant Consortium since it was founded 22 years ago. During the past seven years he was chairman of the national council of directors for the National Space Grant Alliance.
Gregory came to UAH and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center from England as a National Academy of Science/National Research Council postdoctoral fellow. After his fellowship, he joined the UAH Chemistry Department faculty. (He was also the crew team coach for two years.)
During his time at UAH, Gregory designed and built experiments that flew aboard seven space shuttle flights and more than 20 skyscraper-sized high-altitude balloons. These balloons launched from several locations, including the U.S. Southwest, Australia and the Antarctic.
As ASGC director, Gregory used his experience as a space scientist to foster and support programs designed to encourage students to participate in space-related research programs. These include UAH’s Space Hardware Club, which Gregory helped to launch in 2002. He also helped NASA develop both the NASA Academy and the University Student Launch Initiative.
His NASA award citation notes, “John has used his research experience, enthusiasm for space research and education, connections across NASA, and leadership in the national Space Grant organization to bring inspirational educational experiences to students across Alabama and the U.S. He has had an indelible impact on NASA’s educational and research success …”
In addition to his service on campus, Gregory was a founding trustee of the Huntsville Land Trust. He was a member of the board of the Burritt Museum and Park for ten years, including two years as chairman.
He was named the university’s top researcher in 1994, and researcher of the year by Sigma Xi, the national science honor society. He also received the Naval Research Laboratory’s Berman publication award, and the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic medal.