Astronaut Mae Jemison to deliver Commencement address at Washington University in St. Louis


Mae Jemison, an engineer, physician and the first woman of color to travel into space, will deliver the 2022 Commencement address at Washington University in St. Louis, according to Chancellor Andrew D. Martin.

Martin made the announcement during a toast March 25 in Brookings Quadrangle to members of the Class of 2022, which includes undergraduate, graduate and professional degree candidates.

The university’s 161st Commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, May 20, on Francis Olympic Field on the Danforth Campus.

During the ceremony, Jemison will receive an honorary doctor of science degree. She will address more than 3,400 members of the Class of 2022 and their friends and family members.

“From an early age, science and exploration were passions for Mae Jemison. Through her myriad achievements — physician, astronaut, engineer, entrepreneur, educator, futurist — Dr. Jemison provides a wonderful example for our graduates to take advantage of the possibilities in their future,” Martin said.

“Dr. Jemison is known for breaking barriers as the first woman of color to become a NASA astronaut and to travel into space; as a volunteer physician in developing countries; as founder of two companies; and as creator of an international science camp to increase science literacy,” Martin said.

“Today, she is pioneering and transforming science and technology to enhance the quality of life on Earth while looking toward human travel beyond our solar system. I’m sure our graduates will find inspiration and motivation from her life story,” he added.

During the toast, Martin also announced the two graduating students who were selected to deliver talks during the ceremony. Noor Ryad Ghanam, a candidate for a bachelor of arts degree in biology from Arts & Sciences, was selected by a committee of students, faculty and staff after an application process to be the undergraduate student speaker.

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