Professor MSU, Dr Ben Malphrus and former Dr Willi Walker, inducted into the KY Aviation Hall of Fame


Dr. Benjamin K. Malphrus, Executive Director of the Space Science Center and Professor of Space Science at Morehead State University, and MSU alumnus Dr. Wilma “Willi” Walker (class of 1956) were inducted into Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame.

Malphrus and Walker were named to the Hall of Fame earlier this year and were recognized in a ceremony on November 13.

Malphrus was instrumental in the development of the space systems engineering and astrophysics programs at Morehead State and in the construction of MSU’s Space Science Center. Malphrus has served on the scientific staff of the National Radio Astronomical Observatory, as a visiting scientist at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and faculty at universities such as the University of South Carolina and the University of Virginia- Western. In the late 1990s, Malphrus developed a theory of galaxy formation which was widely accepted by the astronomical community and led to the discovery of a previously unknown galaxy, identified as NGC 5291-B, the first known galaxy turned out to be the result of the galaxy-galaxy. interactions. He contributes to research on interacting galaxies, radio astronomical instrumentation and the design and operation of space systems.

Walker is a retired geography professor from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. In 1983, EKU vice president Joe Schwendeman asked him to develop an aviation program at the school. The program remains the only degree aviation program in the state and is the only flight program in Kentucky approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). She was a geography teacher and was the Aviation Program Coordinator until her retirement in 2000. She also served on the Madison County Airport Board of Directors. She was inducted into the MSU Alumni Hall of Fame in 2020.

In 2007, Walker established the Walker Family Scholarship Endowment in honor of his family and their love of MSU. For more information, visit

Malphrus and Walker are in the 25th Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame enrollment class.

The Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame has recognized the awardees since 1996 for their contributions and achievements in aviation and aerospace. The honorees represent a wide range of military and civilian pilots, scientists, administrators and business leaders.

For more information on the Space Systems Engineering programs at MSU, visit, email [email protected], or call 606-783-2381.

Photo Caption: From left to right, the 2021 Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame Inductees Cpt. Terri Donner, Dr Ben Malphrus and Dr Willi Walker. Photo credit: Mark Mahan, Mahan Multimedia.

Back To Top