A UT Volunteer and former commander of the International Space Station is now a Hall of Famer at University of Tennessee.
On Thursday night, the UT Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering inducted Barry "Butch" Wilmore into its Hall of Fame, making him one of nine people to ever receive the honor.
Wilmore grew up in Middle Tennessee and graduated from the UT Space Institute in 1994. Since then, he has launched into space three times -- most recently in 2014, when he spent six months at the ISS and eventually became the commander of the mission.
Wilmore also became the first person to use a 3-D printer in space.
As a former linebacker for Tennessee Tech during his undergraduate career, the astronaut is also an avid football fan. His latest launch came with a special request: to have access to the SEC Network while in space.
“NASA says, ‘Hey, what kind of entertainment would you like while you're on the space station?’ I'm like, ‘Sheesh, give me the SEC Network. Pop up as many SEC games as you can.' And they did," Wilmore said.
Vols quarterback and aerospace engineering major Josh Dobbs was one of dozens of students who gathered to honor Wilmore inductee on Thursday.
“Obviously he was a great football player, but to see his success in the aerospace industry is really great to see,” Dobbs told 10News. "It's really cool to see someone walk kind of walk my shoes."
Wilmore said he was just as inspired by Dobbs’ story.
"Playing football and majoring in engineering, it's like oil and water - they don't mix. They are both full-time jobs," Wilmore said. “To do as well as he’s done in both of those venues says a lot about his character.”
The department also honored Dobbs with the Volunteer Spirit Award for his work both on the field and in the classroom.
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