Participants of the ‘I Can Read’ program gather around Bill Norwood as he autographs copies of his book, “Cleared for Takeoff: A Pilot’s Story of Challenges and Triumphs” Wednesday at the African American Museum in University Mall. Norwood, originally from Centralia, graduated from SIU in 1959, was the university’s first African American quarterback and was named a Saluki Hall of Fame member in October when he served as Grand Marshall for the Homecoming parade. Norwood also served six years years in the Air Force, and was the first African American pilot hired by United Airlines. His Boeing 727 is on permanent display at Chicago’s Science and Industry Museum. Profits from the book go toward the William R. Norwood Aviation Scholarship Fund at the university. Parth Patel, a junior from Streamwood studying aviation management and flight and a recipient of the scholarship, said it was an honor to meet the person who was responsible for his scholarship. Scholarship recipient Isaac Mendoza, a senior from Elgin studying aviation management, said his presence made the event special. “There’s an actual connection, and you can thank them in person,” he said. Norwood’s book is available on www.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com, and as an e-book.
SARAH GARDNER · DAILY EGYPTIAN