Former NASA Administrator to Provide Martin Forum April 18

Tuesday, April 5 2011

Written by Chelsey Remitz

MOSCOW, Idaho – Michael Griffin, the 11th administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will present the University of Idaho's Martin Forum on Monday, April 18.

In his presentation, entitled "The Once and Future Space Program," Griffin will discuss past and present civil space policy, the current and historical approaches to space and NASA, and four decades spent in aerospace. His presentation will take place at 4 p.m. in the University Auditorium, 851 Campus Dr. in Moscow. It is free and open to the public.

Griffin served as the 11th administrator of NASA from 2005-09. Before his nomination, he served as Space Department head at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. He previously served as president and chief operating officer of In-Q-Tel Inc., and served in several positions within Orbital Sciences Corporation. Earlier in his career, Griffin served as chief engineer and as associate administrator for exploration at NASA, and as deputy for technology at the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization.

“NASA is an important component to U.S. domestic and foreign interests,” said Bill Smith, director of the Martin School of International Studies. “A number of things are generated from space. Through the lens of his extensive, hands-on experience, Dr. Griffin will provide new insights to our university community.”

The Martin Institute and Microelectronics Research Communications Institute are co-sponsoring his visit. Touraj Assefi, director of MRCI, is a long time friend of Griffins.

“I wanted him to visit for a long time and it finally worked out,” said Assefi.

Griffin currently is as an eminent scholar and professor at the University of Alabama Huntsville. His full biography is available online at

“He was working on his eighth degree in computer science when he was nominated by President [George W.] Bush,” said Assefi. “He is a true scholar and he may finish that degree someday.”

Griffin is a registered professional engineer in Maryland and California, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics. He received those honors before his job as the NASA Administrator. He is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the AIAA Space Systems Medal and the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal – the highest award given to a non-government employee.

In addition to the forum, Griffin will meet with students in the morning and again in the afternoon. Some 45 students and faculty have been selected for these meetings.

For more information about the Martin Institute, visit For more information about the Microelectronics Research Communications Institute, visit
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit