Willy McCool’s father was a Navy and Marine aviator. He followed his father’s path after graduating 2nd in his class from the Naval Academy in 1983 and became not only an aviator but an Astronaut.
McCool was a member of the Columbia crew when it broke up on re-entry in 2003. He joined NASA in 1993 after a distinguished career aboard the USS Coral Sea and as a Navy test pilot. Commander McCool’s official NASA Bio can be found at: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/mccool.html.
AUTHOR – POET
William Jay Smith has authored more than 50 books. His memoir, “Army Brat”, has been highly acclaimed.
Smith, described as “a most gifted and original poet” by former U.S. Poet Laureate and 1989 Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Wilbur, is the author of ten books of poetry. In 1990, Smith’s first complete collection of his work, Collected Poems, 1938-1989, was cited as “magical” by New York Times’ reviewer Herbert Mitgang.
Smith has also written a dozen celebrated children’s books, including the illustrated Laughing Time: Collected Nonsense (1990) and Birds and Beasts (1990). His credits include numerous translations of French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Swedish and Hungarian poetry, and several volumes of criticism.
He was Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a position now called U.S. Poet Laureate) from 1968 to 1970.
Professor emeritus of Hollins College in Virginia, Smith has been poet in residence at Williams College, chairman of the writing division of the Columbia University School of Arts, and on the executive board of the Columbia University Translation Center. The recipient of numerous awards, he has been a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters since 1975.