Rice selects former astronaut for commencement address

Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman to go to space.
Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman to go to space. | Courtesy of Shutterstock
Rice University has announced that Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go into space, will give the commencement address at the university’s graduation ceremony on May 13, 2017.

“I’m thrilled with our students’ choice of Dr. Jemison as Rice’s 2017 commencement speaker,” David Leebron, president at Rice University, said. “She has a global reputation as a bold, pathbreaking and entrepreneurial leader. Her concern with improving opportunities for young people and harnessing the power of science has been evident in her many contributions. She has excelled in an incredible range of endeavors throughout her career, and I am confident she will bring an inspiring message to our students.”

Jemison is a physician, engineer, educator, entrepreneur and former astronaut. She is also the principal of the 100 Year Starship Project, which is a worldwide initiative that enables the ability of interstellar space flight for humans by the year 2112. The project is funded through a grant Jemison received from DARPA.

Jemison received her medical degree from Cornell University and is a National Academy of Medicine member. While attending medical school, she traveled around the world, including to Cuba, Kenya and Thailand, to help provide primary care.

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