George T. Whitesides

George T. Whitesides (Newton North, '92), President and CEO of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's space tourism company, is scheduled to speak before students in the Newton North auditorium at 12:15 on March 22nd.  Virgin Galactic has designed several vehicles that will take tourists on sub-orbital flights leaving from Spaceport America in New Mexico.  Whitesides has noted the potential for thousands and even millions to take part in spaceflight in the coming years.  Before joining Virgin Galactic, George served on President Obama's transition team as chief of staff at NASA, and formerly the director of the National Space Society, a space advocacy group.

Along with his wife Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, he founded Yuri’s Night, an “Annual worldwide party to celebrate Yuri Gagarin's first flight into space--as well as to promote space exploration.” (  He was also co-founder and director of Permission to Dream, a space education program that donates telescopes to underprivileged children.

Whitesides credits his career in space in part to his experience in space camp during high school, which he said “solidified his interest in going to space”.  Among his many achievements, Whitesides has testified before the United States Senate on space policy, and has appeared on CNN, NBC, Fox, NPR, MTV and other media outlets.   He received his undergraduate degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, and a masters degree from the University of Cambridge in England, where he was selected for a Fulbright Scholarship.

For more information, contact Kevin McGrath.