Throughout the summer and fall of 1985, Americans were drawn to
the preparations for the launch of the spaceship CHALLENGER,
their attention captured by the exuberant teacher, Christa
Corrigan McAuliffe, who was determined to make the whole world
her classroom.  The CHALLENGER mission ended in tragedy, and
seven outstanding men and women lost their lives.  In the period
of mourning that followed, many people assuaged their grief by
turning to actions that would advance the goals of those who had

Framingham State College in Framingham, Massachusetts established
the Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Center for Education and teaching
Excellence in 1986 to honor her life and her commitment to
teaching.  Christa was a 1970 graduate of Framingham State
College, which had its origin as the first state-supported school
for teacher education in the United States (1839).  In accepting
the challenge of space travel, Christa McAuliffe displayed the
same intelligence and courage that enabled nineteenth century
graduates to succeed in their pioneering work in public schools,
in schools for the physically  challenged, on the western
frontiers, and among the emancipated African Americans after the
Civil War.

Consistent with the history of the College and Christa's
commitment, the mission of the McAuliffe Center is to carry out
educational activities and research that will support teachers in
their work, improve educational practice, offer students goals
and incentives to enhance their development, and strengthen
community support for public education.

The on-going programs of the McAuliffe Center are the following: 
the Scholars Program awards seven scholarships each year to
academically-qualified students who wish to study at Framingham
State College; the Remembrance Program is presented each year to
local school children and their teachers in honor of Christa and
the CHALLENGER crew; the Superintendent's Lyceum series offers
public school superintendents scholarly lectures by Framingham
State College faculty; the McAuliffe Exchange Program with Bowie
State University in Maryland provides for a cultural exchange
with an institution of African-American heritage; workshops and
conferences for teachers offer frequent opportunities for
professional development; and the McAuliffe Fellows Network
Program links the Fellows together and makes their work available
to other teachers.  

In 1989, the McAuliffe Center initiated a series of conferences
and recognition ceremonies for Massachusetts teachers who had
received awards under the federally-funded Christa McAuliffe
Fellowship Program. Through an agreement with the United States
Department of Education, these conferences have been extended
regionally and then nationally.  The McAuliffe Center has also
been designated as an archive for teachers' award winning
projects, as well as a center for electronic information storage
and computer access to information about the McAuliffe Fellows
and their work.