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Lacefield creates first endowed scholarship for space science  

MSU Lunar IceCube CubeSat at NASAEugene Lacefield has always had his sights set on outer space. He asked his mother for a telescope for his 11th birthday. She promised him one, but only if he read 11 books first.  

Lacefield dove into science fiction, read 11 books and kept going. Since then, he has been fascinated by space exploration and extraterrestrial life.  

Lacefield hopes to support other young minds interested in the field by creating a new scholarship endowment at MSU: The Eugene Lacefield Space Studies Endowment. Thanks to his generous $100,000 contribution, future generations of MSU students will continue to shoot for the stars.  

Lacefield, a graduate of the University of Kentucky and a longtime resident of central Kentucky was familiar with MSU's space science program. When a special edition of Kentucky Living magazine arrived in his mailbox, he chose to build an authentic connection between the program and himself.  

The Lunar IceCube cube satellite, which was part of NASA's Artemis I mission, landed the MSU space systems engineering on the cover of the magazine. The cover story shared the impressive developments and learning opportunities at MSU's Space Science Center. Lacefield was fascinated to read that MSU's space systems engineering program was taking off for the moon.  

The story was just what Lacefield needed to decide to sponsor a scholarship at a Kentucky university. His interest in space and the opportunities Morehead State was providing gave him the final nudge to turn his thoughts into action.  

"Space exploration is the wave of the future. We can only see a glimpse of the opportunities the future holds," says Lacefield. "Seeing an increase in space exploration and education for our youth puts a smile on my face, and I'm happy to support the MSU space science program."  

Lacefield's contribution created the first endowed scholarship specifically for space systems engineering students. The Eugene Lacefield Space Studies Endowment will provide annual scholarship awards to junior and senior students enrolled full-time in the Bachelor of Science in Space Systems Engineering program or graduate students enrolled in the Master of Science in Space Systems Engineering program.  

"The Eugene Lacefield Space Studies Endowment is a great example of true philanthropic spirit," said Rick Hesterberg, vice president for University Advancement. "MSU is honored to be the beneficiary of Mr. Lacefield's generosity. These scholarship awards will forever honor his love for the field of space science."  

The first recipient of the scholarship is Noah Patrick from Frenchburg. He is a graduate student in space systems engineering. Upon completing his master's degree, Patrick aspires to work alongside NASA and other great space companies.  

"I am very honored to be the first recipient of the Eugene Lacefield Space Studies Scholarship," Patrick said. "This scholarship helps me continue my studies for my dream career and will aid me in leading the community in the advancement of space systems."  

The Space Science Center at MSU, led by Space Science Center Executive Director Dr. Benjamin Malphrus, holds multiple contracts with NASA and other government agencies. The curriculum offers students hands-on learning opportunities within the field, preparing them to launch into a growing and competitive industry.  

To learn more about MSU's space systems engineering program, email or call 606-783-2381.  

To start a scholarship to support an area you are passionate about, please contact the MSU Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033 or email

Photo: Morehead State University's space science students and faculty built a Lunar IceCube CubeSat that was launched to the moon on NASA's Artemis I rocket.

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