This week, Work in Progress takes a break from sports to celebrate an important birthday.

No it is not my birthday, thats not until October.

The birthday this week is that of my grandfather, Dr. Thomas N. Whitaker.  On Thursday he will celebrate his 90th birthday.

An alumnus of Rice University, he worked as an electrical engineer in the Navy during World War II.  Following the war, he went to work as an electrical engineering professor at the University of Houston.

Upon earning his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, my grandfather went to work at NASA as an electrical engineer.

In a way it was my grandfather who got me interested in sports, one of my first memories is hearing his stories about the Houston Buffs baseball team in the Thirties.  It was these stories that connected me to sports’ past.

I hope that your grandfather has had as big an impact on your life as mine has.  Whether it is influencing us in picking a major, or even a college, they always play a big part in our lives.  All the things we have in some way come from grandfathers.  Grandfathers make it happen.

So in closing, Happy Birthday Granddad.

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