WCU Continues to Honor Astronaut Alumni, 30 Years After Shuttle Disaster

The Greg Jarvis Simulation Scholarship was created in memory of Greg Jarvis, a U.S. astronaut who earned a master’s degree from West Coast University.

Mr. Jarvis was one of seven crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger when it exploded just after launch on Jan. 28, 1986. Mr. Jarvis, a payload specialist, was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor posthumously along with the rest of the Challenger’s crew.

“He was doing what he wanted to do,” his widow Marcia Jarvis-Tinsley said in 2011. “And his last word that day, on board as they took off, was ‘Fantastic.’

“We all get a choice to do what we want to do. He believed in the programs, and so do I. I was very proud that he got that position. I still think about him every day,” she said.

Born in Detroit, Michigan on Aug. 24, 1944, Mr. Jarvis was raised in upstate New York where he enjoyed cross-country skiing, backpacking, racquetball and whitewater rafting. He was also an avid squash player and cyclist.

“He was always an upbeat person, very intense,” Jarvis-Tinsley said. “Whether it was about work or outside of work, recreational activities, he was very into whatever he did. We did long-distance bicycling together on a tandem.”

After earning his masters in electrical engineering at Northeastern University, Mr. Jarvis entered active duty in the Air Force where he was assigned to the Space Division and worked on advanced tactical communications satellites. Honorably discharged with the rank of captain, Jarvis then entered into the aerospace industry as a communications subsystem engineer on advanced satellite designs. In January 1986, he was chosen by NASA to fly on the space shuttle as a payload specialist.

Mr. Jarvis continued to advance his education during his career and completed all of the course work necessary to earn a master’s degree in management science from West Coast University-Los Angeles. He was scheduled to receive his master’s from West Coast University in space — the first person in history to do so.

In 2011, West Coast University honored Greg Jarvis with the presentation of its first “Distinguished Alumnus Award.”

Jarvis-Tinsley was on-hand to accept the inaugural award on her former husband’s behalf. At that same ceremony, West Coast University announced the “Greg Jarvis Scholarship,” which would be awarded to students who had made outstanding achievements in simulation education.

West Coast University is a national leader in healthcare simulation education, and it is especially appropriate to honor Greg Jarvis’ memory in this manner, as his professional life was connected deeply to technological advancements and the use of simulation technology in preparation for manned space flight.

Awarded to select BSN students based on outstanding achievements in simulation education in advanced medical surgical nursing. Students are considered for this scholarship during NURS 481L (based on highest CSET score). In the event of a tie, final scores from NURS 480 will be taken into account. Applicants must meet a 3.0-GPA requirement, attend 90 percent of the NURS 481L clinical rotation, and complete and submit a scholarship application with all required documents prior to the end of NURS 481L in Week 9 of the term.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.