Astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris gives keynote address at annual Kappa Alpha Psi Scholarship Breakfast

Published 5:53 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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The brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity were proud to welcome Dr. Bernard Harris, the first African American to perform a spacewalk, to their third annual Scholarship Breakfast.

Harris completed his spacewalk in February of 1995 while on the first flight of the joint Russian-American Space Program. He was the physician for each of the two flights he went on.

“The thing that surprised me about going into space was I think the view of the earth on the backdrop of the sea of stars because you could see it so clearly, and I realized at that moment this didn’t just happen,” Harris said. “That there was a purpose, and in that purpose is a purpose for myself. As astronauts, we are lucky and blessed to have that view and to share it when we get back to earth.”

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Harris dreamed about being an astronaut since he was 13 years old. In high school, he had to figure out what field he was interested in. Not soon after, he was taken under the wing of an African American physician.

“I got to learn what being a doctor meant, and at the same time, I found out that there were doctors in the NASA program,” Harris said. “So it was really easy for me to put those two things together.”

His motto is, “We are infinite beings with infinite possibilities.” He wants this phrase to inspire black youth to find their purpose despite harmful stereotypes.

“This is a way in which to uplift the community and uplift individuals so that they can put those stereotypes aside and to realize that they have multipotential, that they can do anything,” Harris said.

In addition to being a retired astronaut, he is an alumnus of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He explained how his fraternity is helping high school students make their dreams a reality.

“We emphasize how important education is, particularly STEM, and then we also have community events like the one here in TROY where we are giving out scholarships to students and organizations,” Harris said. “In this case, three high schools.”

Six students from Charles Henderson High School, Pike County High School and Goshen High School will each receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend Troy University.