NASA facility in Fairmont renamed for Katherine Johnson

Jill Upson, executive director of the Office of Minority Affairs, poses with Katherine Johnson, whose mathematic calculations were crucial to the United States reaching outer space.

President Donald Trump has honored West Virginia native Katherine Johnson, of “Hidden Figures” fame, by renaming a NASA facility in Fairmont, following efforts by West Virginia leaders to have Johnson’s contributions celebrated.

The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs announced Friday the recognition of Johnson, whose mathematic calculations were crucial to the United States reaching outer space.

Jill Upson, executive director of the Office of Minority Affairs, praised Johnson and her revolutionary work, and reflected on the West Virginia Legislature’s decision to name Aug. 26 as “Katherine Johnson Day.”

“When I got the idea to honor Katherine Johnson in January 2017, after seeing the movie ‘Hidden Figures,’ I was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming excitement that I was met with from people all throughout the state,” Upson said.

“Not only was helping to create Katherine Johnson Day a great accomplishment on behalf of this brilliant West Virginian but renaming the NASA IV & V facility for her elevates her achievements in math and science to a national level. Dr. Johnson literally changed the world and she is worthy of this high honor.”

— Wendy Holdren

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