UAH's second president John Wright dies after bout with pancreatic cancer

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (January 5, 2012) - John Wright, the second president of The University of Alabama in Huntsville, died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Wright joined the university as president on Sept. 1, 1978 and held the post until August 31, 1988.

One of Dr. Wright's lasting legacies is his interest in science education, particularly among young students. He founded the Hands-On Activity Science Program (HASP) that pioneered hands-on science education used by the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI). He was honored with a Friend of AMSTI Award in 2006. AMSTI is the Alabama Department of Education's initiative to improve math and science teaching statewide.

Under his leadership, the university also capitalized on its ties with Huntsville business and technology communities by opening research centers in optics, microgravity, robotics and space plasma.

Other significant events during his tenure:

· 1979 - The first hockey team, playing at club level, is created with Joe Ritch as the team's head coach.

· 1981 - Southeast campus housing, the first on-campus housing units, are constructed moving the university away from its commuter status to residential campus.

· 1987 - The world's first "high-temperature" superconductor was created and tested in a first-floor laboratory in Wilson Hall.

Before his tenure at UAHuntsville, Wright served as vice chancellor at The West Virgina University. He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret "Mac" Wright, who passed away in 2003. Dr. Wright was 84.

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