NASA Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison Named HPU’s Commencement Speaker

Jemison, the first woman of color to travel to space, will deliver HPU Commencement addresses for both the Class of 2020 and 2021

High Point, North Carolina, UNITED STATES

High Point, NC, March 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dr. Mae Jemison, an accomplished NASA astronaut, engineer and physician who became the first woman of color to travel to space, will deliver High Point University’s Commencement addresses on May 7 and May 8.

High Point University is committed to honoring Class of 2020 and 2021 graduates with safe, in-person Commencement Ceremonies on Friday, May 7, and Saturday, May 8, at 10 a.m. Details about each ceremony can be found here. The graduation ceremonies will be streamed live here.

“Dr. Jemison’s pioneering spirit and outstanding accomplishments in science and space exploration have inspired all of us,” says HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein. “We are honored to host her on HPU’s campus, where innovation is in our DNA, and we are excited for our graduates and their families to learn from her. While the global pandemic may have delayed the ceremony for the Class of 2020 and required us to enhance our Commencement plan for this year, we remain committed to honoring all of our graduates and their families with a celebratory experience and incredible speaker.”

Jemison becomes part of an extraordinary lineup of HPU Commencement Speakers, including Dr. Michio Kaku, famed theoretical physicist and co-founder of String Field Theory; Josh Groban, internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter and actor; Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s lead political anchor and anchor of “The Situation Room”; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Gen. Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and national security advisor; former First Lady Laura Bush; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple; Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan; NASA Astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin; and Muhtar Kent, CEO of the Coca-Cola Company.

Biography of Dr. Mae Jemison:

Dr. Mae C. Jemison leads 100 Year Starship (100YSS), a bold, far reaching nonprofit initiative to assure the capabilities exist for human travel beyond our solar system to another star within the next 100 years. Jemison is building a multi-faceted global community to foster the cultural, scientific, social and technical commitment, support and financial framework to accomplish the 100YSS vision-An Inclusive, Audacious Journey (that) Transforms Life Here on Earth and Beyond. 100YSS programs include: Annual public conference NEXUS- Pathway to the Stars: Footprints on Earth; the Canopus Awards for Excellence in Interstellar Writing; the 100YSS Crucibles-Invitation only, transdisciplinary workshops to generate new disciplines to disrupt technological and systemic hurdles; and 100YSS True Books to engage elementary students. The 100YSS Way Research Institute seeks to generate the radical leaps that accelerate knowledge, technology, design, and thinking not just for space travel, but to enhance life on Earth. Jemison led the team that won the competitive, single awardee seed funding grant in February 2012 from premiere research agency DARPA.

Jemison, the first woman of color in the world to go into space, served six years as a NASA astronaut. Aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-47 Spacelab J mission in September 1992, she performed experiments in material science, life sciences and human adaptation to weightlessness.

Jemison started The Jemison Group, Inc. (JG) a technology consulting firm integrating critical socio-cultural issues into the design of engineering and science projects, such as satellite technology for health care delivery and solar dish Stirling engine electricity in developing countries. JG researches and develops stand-alone science and technology companies. BioSentient Corporation, a medical devices and services company focused on improving health and human performance is such a company. An Environmental Studies professor at Dartmouth College, Jemison worked on sustainable development and technology design particularly for the developing world. Before joining NASA, she was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia and a general practice physician in Los Angeles.

In 1994 Jemison founded the international science camp The Earth We Share™ (TEWS) for 12 to 16-year-old students from around the world, a program of the nonprofit Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence (DJF). From 2011 to 2014, DJF held TEWS-Space Race in collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District training hundreds of middle school teachers in experiential science education and over thousands of middle school students. Other foundation programs include Reality Leads Fantasy-Celebrating Women of Color in Flight that highlighted women in aviation and space from around the world. EXPO Inspire is a hands-on public STEM fair. LOOK UP™ announced in September 2017 an international movement to galvanize people worldwide, on a single day, to acknowledge that we are Earthlings.

Jemison is Bayer Corporation USA’s national science literacy ambassador. She is one of the series hosts for National Geographic’s “One Strange Rock” and space operations advisor for its global miniseries MARS.

Jemison is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and is on the boards of directors of Kimberly–Clark, the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards and the Texas Medical Center. She was the Founding Chair of the Texas state Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board, Chair the Texas State Biotechnology and Life Sciences Industry Cluster, Chair of the Greater Houston Partnership Disaster Planning and Recovery Task Force, and served on the board of Scholastic, Inc. and Valspar Corporation. Jemison is an inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Medical Association Hall of Fame and Texas Science Hall of Fame, International Space Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Award, The Kilby Science Award and National Association of Corporate Directors’ Directorship 100 most influential people in the boardroom in 2014, Honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the New York Academy of Sciences, among many honors. She was a featured panelist on the CNBC special “The Business of Science” (9/2011) and was one of the teachers on “The Dream School.” Jemison is an author including Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life True Books series on space exploration. She was the first real astronaut to appear on Star Trek TV series and is a LEGO figurine in the LEGO Women of NASA kit.

Jemison earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering and a bachelor of arts degree in African and Afro-American Studies from Stanford University. She earned her medical degree from Cornell University. 


Dr. Mae Jemison, an accomplished NASA astronaut, engineer and physician who became the first woman of color to travel to space, will deliver both High Point University Commencement addresses on May 7 and May 8.

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