The public is invited to attend the dedication of the Michael P. Anderson memorial statue at 2 p.m. Sunday. The unveiling will be outdoors at the breezeway between the Opera House and the Convention Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
Anderson, the 1977 Cheney High graduate who died in the Columbia space shuttle explosion in 2003, will be honored by NASA officials Frederick Gregory, department administrator and former astronaut, and Lt. Gen. Jefferson Davis Howell Jr., director of the Johnson Space Center.
Astronauts Steve Robinson, who is scheduled to be aboard the next space shuttle, and Carlos Noriega also will be at the ceremony. Anderson’s wife, Sandy, and daughters Kaycee and Sidney will participate in the unveiling of the statue.
The statue, with a price tag of $125,000, was made possible by private and corporate donations. Jessie Wuerst, spokesperson for the fund-raising campaign, said more than 70 percent of the money was donated by individuals, which she regards as exceptional. Statues of Rick Husband and Willie McCool, who also were aboard the shuttle on Feb. 1, 2003, have been erected in Texas. Those statues were made possible through corporate gifts.
Sacred Heart Medical Center, Avista, Washington Trust Bank and the Harriett Cheney Cowles Foundation also donated to the Anderson project.
The larger-than-life statue, created by local artist Dorothy Fowler, will remain at the Opera House breezeway. It shows Anderson kneeling with his helmet in one hand and a dove in the other hand.
The long-term plan is to move the statue into the science center in Riverfront Park. Construction of a science center will not begin for at least two years and hinges on vigorous fund raising. It would be called Mobius at Michael P. Anderson Plaza.