Fred Haise, Apollo 13 astronaut and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, will present "Failure is Not an Option" at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 22, in Kirkland Fine Arts Center on Millikin's campus. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations required.
Although best known as a crew member on the ill-fated Apollo 13 lunar mission, Haise began his 20-year NASA career as an aeronautical research pilot, serving on the backup crew for the Apollo 8, 11 and 16 missions. In 1973, while working as a pilot on the set of the Pearl Harbor movie, "Tora! Tora! Tora!," Haise was severely burned in a plane crash. After 14 months of recovery and rehabilitation, he regained flight status, and in 1977, he served as commander of the space shuttle Enterprise for the approach and landing program at Edwards Air Force Base. Over his 25 years in the service and with NASA, Haise logged 9,100 hours of flying time in more than 80 types of aircraft. Haise left NASA in 1979 to become a test pilot and executive with Grumman Aerospace Corporation. In 1996, he retired as president of Northrop Grumman Technical Services (GTS).
Haise was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970 by President Richard Nixon. His other honors include the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Haley Astronautics Award, the General Thomas D. White Space Trophy, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the NASA Exceptional Service Award, the NASA Special Achievement Award and induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Haise's presentation is the 2014 T.W. Samuels Lecture. The T.W. Samuels Lecture Series was created in 1977 in honor of attorney T.W. Samuels, senior partner in the Decatur law firm of Samuels, Miller, Schroeder, Jackson and Sly. Samuels was active in Decatur community affairs until his death in 1989 at age 103. Samuels' sons, William J. Samuels of Menlo Park, Calif., and the late Dr. Thomas W. Samuels Jr., created an endowment fund to finance the series in recognition of their father. The endowment is used to bring great thinkers and speakers to Millikin for the purpose of community enrichment.