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Challenger mementos connect College to shuttle

Kristen B. Morales

January 30, 2015

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The recent anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger explosion recalled a special link to the University of Georgia College of Education.

Challenger Medallion

The mission, with its special focus on education and first teacher-astronaut Christa McCauliffe, included a medallion from the College of Education and tests created by Dr. E. Paul Torrance, namesake of the College's Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development.

While the shuttle came to a tragic end on Jan. 28, 1986, mementos of that groundbreaking trip into space remain, including an exact replica of the medallion that was on the shuttle, as well as a page from a Torrance test brochure that was recovered after the explosion. Both pieces, as well as numerous clippings and correspondence between Torrance and family members of those on the shuttle, are today housed at the Torrance Center in the College of Education.

Sarah Sumners, interim director of the Torrance Center, said the test, which was developed more than 50 years ago, hasn't changed much since it was first developed. The brochure page recovered from the shuttle, which is now framed and hangs in the center's office, represents the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (Figural and Verbal) forms given today to students around the world. These tests are used in all Georgia schools to detect creativity and creative potential, and also by the military and in countries around the world.

Sarah Sumners