An unexpected addition to Champaign Public Library’s summer series

From The News-Gazette | Click Here to Read the Full Article

In June, our MELISSA MERLI published a story about the “NASA Space Exhibit” at the Champaign Public Library.

On a Friday afternoon not much later, EVELYN SHAPIRO took a call in her office. It was the agent of MIKE FOREMAN, who told the library’s promotions manager that the Texas-based astronaut would love to swing by while visiting C-U.

Foreman’s close friend, former Illini wrestler JIM GRAHAM, lives in Champaign. Turns out he texted a photo of Merli’s News-Gazette article to Foreman.

“I contacted my agent and asked her to find out if the library was interested in inviting me to speak,” Foreman said.

Are you kidding?

“It’s not every day an astronaut calls wanting to come to the library,” Shapiro said. “What a lovely repercussion to Melissa’s story. You never know who is reading your newspaper.”

Foreman’s appearance — 7 p.m. Monday in a room with 120 seats — is an unexpected addition to the library’s “The Sky’s The Limit!” summer series. The timing is perfect, what with an eclipse around the bend and the library handing out eclipse glasses each day (175 pairs will be available Monday night).

An accomplished speaker, Foreman will touch on all things sky. Like his trip to the International Space Station in 2008.

“Ironically, I wanted to be an astronaut since I was 8 years old, and the first thing I did when I finally got to space was look back at Earth,” he said. “That view is amazing and was definitely the highlight.”