She left NASA in 1987 and spent her time first at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control, and later as a physics professor at UC San Diego and Director of the California Space Institute. She also founded Sally Ride Science in 2001, a science education company dedicated to supporting children’s interests in math, science, and technology—as well as, according to the company’s mission statement, “to make a difference in girls’ lives, and in society’s perceptions of their roles in technical fields.” A worthy pursuit, indeed.
Sally Ride Science released following statement on their website:
“Sally Ride died peacefully on July 23rd, 2012 after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.
“Sally was a physicist, the first American woman to fly in space, a science writer, and the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science. She had the rare ability to understand the essence of things and to inspire those around her to join her pursuits.
“Sally’s historic flight into space captured the nation’s imagination and made her a household name. She became a symbol of the ability of women to break barriers and a hero to generations of adventurous young girls. After retiring from NASA, Sally used her high profile to champion a cause she believed in passionately—inspiring young people, especially girls, to stick with their interest in science, to become scientifically literate, and to consider pursuing careers in science and engineering.
“In addition to Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years, Sally is survived by her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin, and nephew, Whitney; her staff of 40 at Sally Ride Science; and many friends and colleagues around the country.”
RIP, Sally. We wouldn’t have accomplished half the things we have if it wasn’t for you. We hope you’re soaring through the stars once more.
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.