Trustee Derrick Pitts '78 was one of only three non-NASA guests invited to the White
House "star party" on the South Lawn on October 7. Pitts set up the telescope near
President Barack Obama's podium; both the President and Michelle Obama used the telescope to see a rare "double-double" star on the occasion.
Some 150 school children in the Washington area were also guests at the party, which featured a number of telescopes set up for observation of the night sky. The event was timed to an awards ceremony for the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at the White House earlier that day. According to a White House statement, the star party was intended to "highlight the President's commitment to science, engineering and math education as the foundation of this nation's global technological and economic leadership and to express his support for astronomy in particular - for its capacity to promote a greater awareness of our place in the universe, expand human knowledge, and inspire the next generation by showing them the beauty and mysteries of the night sky."
Pitts is the chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. A geology major at St. Lawrence, Pitts
makes frequent appearances in the regional news in Philadelphia, as well as
in national news outlets. Read more about Derrick Pitts on our Amazing Alumni page.
Posted: October 9, 2009