Charles Bolden to speak at Pitt’s commencement ceremony

Back to Article
Back to Article

Charles Bolden to speak at Pitt’s commencement ceremony

By Dale Shoemaker / Assistant News Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

NASA’s top brass, Charles Bolden, is touching down at Pitt for graduation.

Pitt said Monday that Bolden, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and retired major general of the U.S. Marine Corps, will speak at the 2015 commencement convocation on April 26. At the ceremony, Pitt will also present Bolden with an honorary doctoral degree in public service, according to a release. Commencement will begin at 1 p.m. in the Petersen Events Center. 

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in the release that Pitt selected Bolden because he is a “role model and inspiration.”

“Charles Bolden epitomizes leadership and service,” Gallagher said in the release, “and he is both a role model and an inspiration for emerging leaders who are ready to launch careers and explore new frontiers in their fields.”

To choose commencement speakers, according to University spokesman John Fedele, a committee from the University reviews several candidates and then presents its recommendations to the chancellor. Fedele would not provide the other options besides Bolden. 

The previous two speakers at commencement were Chancellor Emeritus Mark Nordenberg last year and Gallagher in 2013.

President Barack Obama nominated Bolden in 2009 for his role at NASA. His appointment that year marked his return to NASA after a 15-year absence. Bolden was last in space in 1994, aboard the flight of a joint American and Russian shuttle mission. 

Back on Earth, Bolden continued his service in the U.S. Marine Corps as commanding general of the First Marine Expeditionary Force Forward in Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. Bolden then held other senior positions in the Marines before retiring in 2003. 

Between 2003 and his appointment to lead NASA, Bolden served as CEO of Jack and Panther LLC, a leadership, military and aerospace consulting firm. Bolden was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006.

Though Pitt will pay for Bolden’s expenses to visit Pittsburgh, it isn’t paying him an honorarium, or speaking fee, Fedele said. 

“Dr. Bolden’s life journey and successes are inspirational, and we are expecting that his speech will impart wisdom and inspiration to the graduates,” Fedele said.

Leave a comment.